Three federal agencies declined to provide public information for a story dealing with more than $2 billion in taxpayer funds.
The May 21 story "Border detentions in Southern Arizona cost $2B in last decade" covered detention costs related to illegal immigration in Southern Arizona since 2007.
The story used agency statistics on detention costs obtained by the Star through requests made under public records laws. However, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Border Patrol, and the U.S. Attorney's Office declined to provide information that would help taxpayers understand how that money was spent.
From the story:
"Despite spending $760 million of taxpayer money, ICE declined to allow the Star to tour detention facilities, provide the number of ICE detainees in Southern Arizona, or provide the daily cost to house a detainee.
The Border Patrol did not respond to requests for information about the use of various enforcement tools; where illegal immigrants are sent after leaving Border Patrol custody; or statistics on the agency’s prosecution programs.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office did not respond to a request for information about how prosecutors decide to file criminal charges in immigration-related cases, how those decisions evolved in the last decade, and how new policies affect those decisions."