Resource Center

Stories

 

 

 

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 26,000 investigative stories — both print and broadcast.

These stories are searchable online or by contacting the Resource Center directly (573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org) where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Browse or search the tipsheet section of our library below. Stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center.

 

 

 



Search results for "U.S. Borders" ...

  • Over the Line

    Fatal shootings by U.S. Border Patrol agents were once a rarity. Only a handful were recorded before 2009. Unheard of were incidents of Border Patrol agents shooting Mexicans on their own side of the border. But a joint investigation by the Washington Monthly, The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute, and the television network Fusion has found that over the past five years U.S. border agents have shot across the border at least ten times, killing a total of six Mexicans on Mexican soil. A former Clinton administration official who worked on border security issues couldn’t recall a single cross-border shooting during his tenure. “Agents would go out of their way not to harm anyone and certainly not shoot across the border,” he said. But following a near doubling of the number of Border Patrol agents between 2006 and 2009, a disturbing pattern of excessive use of force emerged. For “Over the Line,” we traveled to several Mexican border towns, tracking down family members of victims, eye-witnesses to the shootings, amateur video, Mexican police reports, audiotapes, and autopsies to recreate the circumstances surrounding these cross-border killings. We recount the stories of several of them, including 16-year-old José Antonio Elena Rodriguez, a studious Mexican teen who dreamed of becoming a soldier to fight the violence that plagued his hometown of Nogales, Sonora, and who was shot and killed by U.S. border agents as he walked to pick his brother up after work. The first two shots were to the boy’s head; he was shot eight more times as he lay, prone and bleeding, on the sidewalk. Although Border Patrol protocols and international treaties between Mexico and the United States appear to have been violated by these cross border shootings, none of the agents involved have yet been prosecuted. If any agents have been relieved of their duties for their role in the incidents, that information has not been made available to the public, and our queries to Customs and Border Protection on this issue have been denied. The Washington Monthly story was accompanied by two broadcasts that aired at the launch of the news network Fusion, a joint project of ABC News and Univision. These reports delve into two of the more troubling incidents in greater depth. “Investigation Shows Mexican Teen Was Shot 8 Times on the Ground” tells the story of Rodriguez, the teenager killed in Nogales; “U.S. Border Patrol Shoots and Kills Mexican Man in Park with Family” uses amateur video and eyewitness testimony to tell the even more shocking story of Arevalo Pedroza, shot and killed by US border agents who fired into a crowd of picnickers on the Mexico side of the Rio Grande in September 2012.

    Tags: immigration; border patrol

    By John Carlos Frey; Esther Kaplan; Phil Longman

    Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute

    2013

  • Cross-Border Killings

    In October 2012, a U.S. Border Patrol agent fired through the 20-foot steel fence separating Nogales, Arizona from Nogales, Mexico, killing an unarmed 16-year-old Mexican boy with 10 bullets through his body. The agents said he was throwing rocks. This was not an isolated incident by a rogue agent, but just the latest in a string of cross-border shootings that raise questions about oversight and accountability of the U.S. Border Patrol. In the last three years, Border Patrol agents have killed 6 Mexican citizens on their native soil, firing through the border to threaten and injure even more. One man was shot while picnicking with his family on the banks of the Rio Grande. Another 15-year-old boy was hit between the eyes with a bullet for allegedly throwing rocks. None of these cases has led to any known disciplinary action or criminal charges against the border police, and U.S. courts have rejected claims made by victims’ families, asserting that Mexican citizens do not have the same constitutional protections as U.S. citizens. Fault Lines travels to the border town of Nogales – presently the nexus for this increasingly lawless law enforcement – to meet the families who have lost their sons at the hands of U.S. agents with no follow up or acknowledgement from U.S. officials.

    Tags: border patrol

    By Mathieu Skene; Singeli Agnew; Carrie Lozano; Wab Kinew; Lincoln Else; Murphy Joseph Woodhouse; Judith Torrea; Andrea Schmidt; John Kane; Keith Wilson; Yousur Alhou; Paul Abowd; Mark Scialla; Omar Damascene; Jonathan Klett

    Al Jazeera America

    2013

  • Ruthless Kidnapping Rings Reach from Desert Sands to U.S. Cities

    The story deals with the ever-evolving crime of human smuggling, and how opportunistic criminal gangs exploit gaps in law enforcement to open new channels for profit. In this case it was how Bedouin gangs along the Egypt-Israel border in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula took advantage of the Arab Spring, the fall of the Mubarak regime, and the increasingly lawless state of the region to create a perfect smuggling scenario linking African refugees in Israel to Palestinian bag men (who collect the ransom) to diaspora Africans in Europe and North America who raise thousands of dollars to rescue their captives. The story documents the $80,000 payment made by one immigrant father from Eritrea—now living near San Jose, California—to secure the release of his teen-age daughter and his own brother. We showed how this was part of a growing international network that has funneled millions of dollars in each of the last 3 years to the criminals operating these enterprises.

    Tags: kidnapping; gangs; organized crime

    By Joel Millman

    Wall Street Journal (New York)

    2013

  • SPECIAL FORCES COMBAT OUTPOST PIRELLI

    “SPECIAL FORCES COMBAT OUTPOST PIRELLI” (by Alex Quade) --- When the U.S. military officially departed Iraq due to the Status of Forces Agreement deadline, a little known part of the handover included leaving behind secret Special Forces’ “Team houses” — or “safe houses” — hidden around the country. One was built by Green Beret Staff Sergeant Rob Pirelli and his Operational Detachment Alpha -072, or “A-Team.” Pirelli, of the Army’s 10th Special Forces Group, built the combat outpost in a remote part of Diyala Province, near the Iranian border, in 2007. As a lone reporter, I was there at the combat outpost’s beginning stages, then spent 2-years covering these same, secretive Special Forces “A-Teams” on multiple deployments. During one combat mission, Green Beret Staff Sgt. Pirelli was killed in action during an ambush. His heroism saved his 12-Special Forces teammates, and the Iraqis his unit was advising. As a reporter, I made the commitment to follow Pirelli’s “A-Team” and his “Gold Star Family” for 5-years after he was killed; I also went back to Combat Outpost Pirelli repeatedly over the years. My 40-page, two-part, special online article (with photos and video), covered two different investigative, journalistic themes. First: over time, how Pirelli’s family and teammates found ways (both successful and unsuccessful) to deal with the loss; as well as an inside look at how Special Forces command/headquarters handle a soldier killed in action. Second: using the Combat Outpost as a metaphorical barometer, I documented the change in the Special Forces’ mission in that part of Iraq, as well as the U.S. military’s role, and the progress or regress into violence, over 5-years.

    Tags: military; special forces; green berets

    By Alex Quade

    The Daily Caller

    2013

  • CBS Sunday Morning Investigates Over the Line: Fighting Corruption on our Border

    Over the Line: Fighting Corruption on our Border investigated the conduct of government officials when it comes to the porous Mexico-U.S. border. The FBI reports the border has become a possible pathway for foreign terrorists to easily reach U.S. soil. We examined the risk through the eyes of longtime rancher John Ladd, whose family has owned 14,000 acres in Arizona for generations. He’s watched as a stunning half million illegal immigrants have been captured on his property and says many more have gotten away from Customs and Border Protection agents, who sometimes act suspiciously unconcerned. We intensely mined the FBI for information and convinced the agency to give us unprecedented, exclusive access to some of its case files and methods to tell some of the shocking stories of trusted border agents on the take.The lure of money from criminals who can pay is all too tempting for some of America’s 60,000 border agents. The terrorism-related consequences are nothing short of chilling and potentially impact everyone who lives in the U.S.

    Tags: corruption; mexico; border; immigration; terrorism

    By Sharyl Attkisson; Kim Skeen

    CBS News

    2013

  • A Candidate Exposed: Investigating Sheriff Paul Babeu

    Arizona Sheriff Paul Babeu made frequent appearances on national media programs most often espousing strong partisan political views about his positions on immigration, border security and guns. He was labeled a rising star by many including members of his own party. But when Paul Babeu first started talking about running for congress, we realized nobody really knew too much about his background. By the time Paul Babeu declared his candidacy for congress in January 2012, we had already begun to work on going past the hyperbolic political rhetoric to examine candidate Babeu’s background and Sheriff Babeu’s job performance. Over the next five months, in at least a dozen exclusive investigative reports, ABC15 Investigators uncovered and exposed the dark side to Paul Babeu’s past and chronicled the troubling patterns of his performance as Pinal County Sheriff. Our entry for the IRE Award includes our exclusive and explosive reports revealing Babeu’s inappropriate relationship with a student while he served as headmaster of a Massachusetts boarding school. Our stories also shed light on his performance in office. Our relentless investigations and our efforts to provide our viewers with facts about Sheriff Paul Babeu contributed to his decision to withdraw from the race and end his candidacy for U.S. Congress.

    Tags: Arizona; Paul Babeu; Congress; Candidacy

    By Dave Biscobing

    KNXV-TV (Phoenix)

    2012

  • Deadly Patrols

    In spring 2012, a cellphone video surfaced of a man being savagely tasered and beaten to death by a group of Border Patrol agents in San Ysidro, California, in 2010. As the video made the rounds -- through YouTube, media broadcasts and finally to members of congress -- outrage mounted. Justice for Anastasio, people demanded. A few months later, a grand jury was convened, and 14 lawmakers including two U.S. representatives from San Diego sent a letter to the Department of Justice. As Rojas’ story gained traction, we questioned: Who else is out there with a similar story? We found 14 other boys and men who have died as a result of violent altercations with Border Patrol agents. Some incidents were also caught on video. Many were not. That was the start of Deadly Patrols.

    Tags: Border control;

    By Evelyn Larrubia; Melissa Del Bosque; Joanne Faryon; Roxana Popescu; Brad Racino; Lorie Hearn

    Investigative Newsource

    2012

  • Thai Shrimp Industry Exploits Workers to Whet Global Appetite for Cheap Shrimp

    Shrimp is big business in Thailand, thanks to an appetite in the United States that continues to grow. Today, a third of country’s exported shrimp goes to the U.S., its top customer, where retail giants like Walmart and Costco do high-volume sales and suburban Red Lobsters offer bargain blue plate specials. Breakthroughs in aquaculture have helped Thai producers keep up with the rising demand, but there’s a catch to their success: an invisible underclass of Burmese migrant workers, thousands of whom labor in sub-human conditions to keep costs down. Of the estimated 200,000 Burmese migrants working in Samut Sakhon province, the heartland of the Thai shrimp industry, about a third are unregistered and subject to rights abuses. Independent monitors say that thousands desperate to escape the poverty and dictatorship of their homeland cross the border only to find themselves trapped in bonded labor that’s tantamount to slavery. Sold by brokers to crooked factory owners, they are forced to endure long hours for pitiful wages, physical abuse and intimidation. Many are children who do not meet Thai working age requirements. Their plight is made worse, critics say, by the profit-induced apathy of Thai authorities who turn a blind eye or are complicit in abuses. Reporters Steve Sapienza and Jason Motlagh investigate exploitative labor practices at the lower levels of the supply chain.

    Tags: Burmese migrants; Shrimp; Costco; Walmart; Thai

    By Linda Winslow; Steve Sapienza; Jason Motlagh; Steve Sapienza

    PBSNewshour

    2012

  • Truthout on the Border

    The true intent of United States Foreign Policy in regards to the war on drugs in Mexico and Latin America is hidden behind many pantallas (screens in Spanish). In ten installments, posted in the first half of 2012, the Truthout on the Mexican Border series exposed the unofficial intentions of the US war on drugs in Latin America and its deadly impact. By connecting the dots in ten successively posted articles, the war on drugs appears to be a screen behind which goals of US military and economic hegemony can more easily be achieved in Latin American nations. Many Mexicans know that when it comes to corruption, drugs and crime in their nation, las pantallas usually prevent them from knowing the truth. The same is true of the US war on drugs, which has resulted in deaths and disappearances that are estimated to reach between 60,000 – 120,000 in the six year rule of Mexican President Felipe Calderón (ending on November 30, 2012). Truthout regularly covers US foreign policy and its impact in Latin America. The Truthout on the Mexican Border series was written to create a comprehensive understanding of what is behind the diplomatic and political screens – weaving in such seemingly diverse topics as US immigration and gun policies to understand the dark underside of US hemispheric intentions in Mexico and Latin America.

    Tags: U.S.; foreign policy; Mexico; Latin America; drug war; corruption; crime

    By Mark Karlin

    Truthout.org

    2012

  • Need to Know: Crossing the Line at the Border Parts 1 & 2

    Few, if any, pieces published or broadcast in 2012 had as much impact as “Crossing the Line at the Border,” a joint project of the weekly PBS newsmagazine, “Need to Know,” and the Nation Institute that was in the best tradition of American investigative journalism. Within days of its broadcast, 16 members of Congress demanded that the U.S. Justice Department investigate the killing of Anastasio Hernandez Rojas, a 42-year-old Mexican whose death at the hands of U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents was detailed in our report. A few months later, a U.S. attorney in convened a federal grand jury. It is currently considering criminal charges in the case. And months after that, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said the incident had prompted it to launch a full-scale review of its use of force. Hernandez Rojas had a fatal heart attack shortly after being subdued by agents, beaten, and shot with a Taser gun at the San Ysidro border crossing on May 28th, 2010. His death was largely ignored until the "Need to Know” team, in partnership with the Investigative Fund of the Nation Institute, unearthed never-before-seen eyewitness video of the incident.

    Tags: U.S. Justice Department; border; killing; U.S. Customs and Border Protection; U.S. Department of Homeland Security; Taser

    By John Larson; Brian Epstein; John Carlos Frey; Judith Starr Wolff; Alexandra Nikolchev; Esther Kaplan; Irene Francis; Brenda Breslauer; Scott Davis; Stephen Segaller; Neal Shapiro

    WNET-TV (New York)

    2012