Valeria Fernández

Journalist, Producer and Storyteller.


Valeria Fernández


Profile photo: Drew Bird,


The Void

Reporter Valeria Fernandez took a trip to southern Mexico, the place where, for so many unaccompanied minors, the journey to the US begins. Two Americans trailer, Valeria’s documentary about undocumented immigrant children in Arizona: Follow Valeria Fernández's journey through Mexico's southern border by clicking on the arrow on the right.
Radio Ambulante Link to Story

Few Child Refugees Get to Stay Here Legally. Meet One of the Lucky Ones

On a Wednesday afternoon in May, he takes a break from his job flipping burgers at a McDonald’s on Central Avenue in Phoenix to sit down and talk, sipping a frozen caramel coffee drink and rubbing his almond eyes. A brown rosary peeks from beneath his shiny black uniform. He’s shaved both sides of his head, taming a few meticulous black curls atop with gel.
Phoenix New Times Link to Story

He’s been deported twice. This third time, his family is leaving the US with him.

Katerina Karrys Barron packed her two toddlers in the back seat of her gold Honda sedan and set course towards Mexico. She hadn’t slept all night, and it seemed like the months her husband was detained were an eternity. “I don’t know whether to laugh or cry when I see him,” she said, as she got on Interstate 19, the highway that leads to Nogales, Arizona.
PRI/Public Radio International Link to Story

Attorney says woman deported from Phoenix might have had her conviction overturned

Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos’ deportation to Mexico from Arizona this week was the last chapter of a long nightmare for her family. It began in 2008 with a knock on the door by sheriff’s officers. The day of that raid was still fresh in the memory of her 16-year-old son, who spoke Wednesday minutes before his mother went inside the Phoenix Immigrations and Customs Enforcement office for an annual check-in with federal authorities.
PRI/Public Radio International Link to Story

Advocates suggest another option for US-bound Central Americans: Stay and work in Mexico

Late in the evening, Esteban and his new friends at the Adolescentes en el Camino shelter in Mexico City are sitting around a kitchen table, trading tales about their journey. All of them are young Central Americans traveling on their own, hoping to reach the US. And they’re all escaping violence or poverty back home.
PRI/Public Radio International Link to Story

Arizona: A hotbed of pro-immigrant change?

Phoenix, United States - Maria Cruz Ramirez remembers how fearful she was when she first arrived in the United States with her three children 13 years ago. She wouldn't get behind the wheel of a car, afraid police would pull her over and ask for papers. It was difficult getting used to not belonging, but she overstayed her visa to give her children a chance at a better life.
Al Jazeera English Link to Story

For a young, undocumented immigrant, a new program lets her live in the US and even visit her deported family

On a windy afternoon in Brazil, Renata Teodoro looks up from her coffee cup and smiles at her 81-year-old grandmother. Teodoro is a college student in Boston and hasn't been back to Brazil in 20 years for a simple reason: she's been an undocumented immigrant in the US most of her life. Her mother, Gorete, runs around making sure everyone's mugs are filled.
PRI/Public Radio International Link to Story


Valeria Fernández

Valeria Fernández is a recipient of the 2018 American Mosaic Journalism Prize awarded by the Heising-Simons Foundation.

She has been reporting on Arizona’s immigrant community and the many angles and faces of the immigration debate for over 15 years.

She migrated from Uruguay when she was in her 20s and started a career in journalism in 2003 for the weekly newspaper La Voz. In 2004, the National Association of Hispanic Publications named Fernández “Latina Journalist of the Year."

Fernández currently freelances for CNN Español, Radio Bilingue, PRI's Global Nation and The World, Al Jazeera English, Phoenix New Times, and The Guardian.

She's worked as a field producer for Extreme World on Sky TV, Discovery Channel Spanish, and Channel 4 in England.

Fernández co-directed and produced "Two Americans," a documentary that parallels the stories of Sheriff Joe Arpaio and a 9-year-old U.S. citizen whose parents were arrested by the sheriff’s deputies during a workplace immigration raid. The film won the Audience Award for Best Feature Documentary at the Arizona International Film Festival. It aired on Al Jazeera America in 2013 and was an official selection of the DOCSDF Mexican Film Festival.

In 2014, Fernández co-directed six short documentaries along the U.S.-Mexico borderlands as part of the international web-documentary Connected Walls.

In 2015, she was a producer and reporter for the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting on a project that cast light on the economic and social impacts of a mine spill in Northern Mexico that broadcast in PBS, San Diego. The multi-media project won an Arizona Press Club recognition for environmental reporting.

As a fellow for the International Center for Journalists she published stories in 2017 for PRI's The World, and NPR’s Spanish podcast Radio Ambulante on human rights violations tied to the incarceration of Central-American youth

This year she is a fellow for the Adelante initiative of the International Media Women Foundation. She's covering issues at the intersection of trauma, deportation and migration.

She also runs Cronkite Noticias, a bilingual digital and broadcast media platform for journalism students as a professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism in Arizona State University.