Teresa Cotsirilos | KALW

Teresa Cotsirilos

Immigration reporter

Teresa Cotsirilos is a reporter at KALW, where she covers labor rights and public health in the Bay Area’s immigrant communities. A recipient of the IWMF Adelante Fellowship and the Center for Health Journalism's National Fellowship, she is currently investigating California wildfire cleanups and their impact on immigrant workers’ health and safety. Prior to joining KALW, Teresa worked as a reporter and occasional host at KYUK, where she covered public safety and climate change in Western Alaska’s indigenous communities. Her work there won seven statewide journalism awards, including Best Investigative Reporting in 2018. Teresa's work has appeared in the New York Times, Reveal, Weekend Edition, The California Report, the Nation and other publications. She received her M.A. from UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, where her thesis won the Reva and David Logan Prize for Excellence in Investigative Reporting. Share news tips with her at immigration@kalw.org.

Jeff Chiu / AP Photo

This story was updated with additional reporting on March 18, 2020 at 8:21pm.

The Bay Area’s historic shelter-in-place order is intended to slow the spread of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus. But it could have a profound impact on low-wage workers, who live month-to-month. Low-wage immigrant workers are particularly vulnerable, and some of the programs available to them are struggling to stay up and running.

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Reed Saxon / AP Photo

Climate change is fueling devastating wildfires in California, and in some cases, low-wage immigrant workers are cleaning up after them. They sweep ash out of houses and strip debris from burned buildings.

Ringo H.W. Chiu / AP Photo

In October 2019, a stretch of dry weather and strong winds sparked dozens of wildfires across California, killing three people and destroying hundreds of homes. For the low-wage immigrants who work in those homes, fire season brings its own dangers.

Jeff Chiu / AP Photo

Proposition E is trying to play hardball with San Francisco’s housing crisis. The measure states that if San Francisco can’t build more housing, it can’t have new office space either.

Richard Vogel / AP Photo

Some of San Francisco’s most popular neighborhoods have an empty storefront problem. In North Beach, one in every five storefronts were vacant in 2018. The city says this problem’s on the rise, though it doesn’t know how widespread it is.

Eric Risberg / AP Photo

Last January, the Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration can begin implementing its expanded “public charge” rule, which could systematically deny green cards to low-income immigrants. 

Rich Pedroncelli / AP Photo

On January 1, California became the first state in the country to extend Medicaid benefits to all low-income adults, regardless of their immigration status. Over 100,000 additional Californians are eligible for health coverage under the new law, the latest piece of legislation in the state’s ongoing push for universal health coverage.

Teresa Cotsirilos / KALW

In 2019, the United Nations reported that an unprecedented number of people have been forced to flee their home countries. Over 70 million people are currently displaced worldwide, and the global refugee population is expected to increase in 2020.

Teresa Cotsirilos / KALW

In 2019, the UN’s Refugee Agency reported that an unprecedented number of people had been forced to flee their home countries. Over 70 million people are currently displaced worldwide, and the global refugee population is expected to increase in 2020.

Evan Vucci / AP Photo

  

The H-1B is one of the most commonly-used work visas in the United States, and the Trump Administration is denying them at a record rate. Data reporter Sinduja Rangarajan spent eight months investigating why.

Eric Gay / AP Photo

The Trump Administration is expanding its Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), a policy that says asylum seekers at the US-Mexican border must remain in Mexico while they wait for their hearings.

Chris Carlson / AP Photo

Last month, California became the first state in the nation to abolish private prisons. Lawmakers include immigration detention centers in their bill — most of those are run by private companies. But Immigration and Customs Enforcement is fighting back. Bay Area politicians accuse the agency of bending federal law so that it can continue detaining immigrants in California.

Courtesy of Juanita Chavez

Ethnic Maya from Central America are escaping gang-related violence and food insecurity and building new communities in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Alex Brandon / AP Photo

The Bay Area is home to some of the most powerful tech companies in the world, and many of them provide essential services to government agencies.

Evan Vucci / AP Photos

San Francisco and Santa Clara counties became the first in the nation last week to sue the Trump Administration over its controversial "public charge" rule. 

Marco Ugarte / AP Images

The Trump Administration has announced a wave of harsh immigration policies this month, and civil rights groups are fighting back with lawsuits. One of these legal battles began Wednesday morning in San Francisco, where a case filed by the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant and other organizations could help determine the fate of thousands of asylum seekers.

Teresa Cotsirilos / KALW

When we first interviewed Elizabeth Chan, she was standing in front of San Francisco’s immigration building, saying goodbye to her only son. She’s been fighting his deportation order ever since and told us how that fight has changed her.

AP Photo

Last month, the Trump Administration argued before the Ninth Circuit that the government is not required to provide toothbrushes, soap or beds to the migrant children it detains. That argument was relentlessly criticized by the three-judge panel presiding over the case, and their comments quickly viral.

courtesy of Diversidad Sin Fronteras/Facebook

Johana Medina Leon’s family says she left El Salvador out of fear for her physical safety. She died of pneumonia about a month after US immigration officials took her into custody. Her family claims Medina was repeatedly denied medical treatment, and a Bay Area attorney just filed a $20 million wrongful death claim on their behalf.

Tim Wilson / Flickr Creative Commons, used under CC BY 2.0

Santa Clara County’s Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to retain their sanctuary policy on Tuesday. South Bay officials were compelled to review the policy by a brutal murder earlier this year, which raised thorny questions about immigrants’ rights and public safety.

Teresa Cotsirilos / KALW

Latino workers are more likely to die at work than anyone else, and immigrant workers can be particularly at risk.

Ummra Hang

Immigration and Customs Enforcement is targeting long-time residents with criminal convictions, most of whom have lived in the US since fleeing the Cambodian genocide as children.

Frederick Ghai

Becoming a citizen is taking longer and getting tougher, and in California, there aren’t enough legal aid attorneys to go around. Meet one group of Bay Area lawyers who are trying to bridge that gap.

Gage Skidmore / Creative Commons, used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Last week, a New York judge blocked the Trump Administration’s efforts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. Bay Area leaders are applauding that ruling. They say that asking about citizenship on the Census could have lasting consequences for California residents.