Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or [email protected] where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "border security" ...

  • The Texas Observer with The Investigative Fund: The Surge

    If Texas’s border counties have some of the lowest crime rates in the nation, why are they so heavily policed? As Melissa del Bosque shows, the State of Texas has gone all in on border security spending, devoting $2.6 billion to special-ops teams, armored gunboats, high-tech spy planes, and a surge of law enforcement personnel in the past several years — on top of a multibillion-dollar federal border security operation. For her piece for The Texas Observer, in partnership with The Investigative Fund, del Bosque interviewed residents and elected officials in these border counties, now among the most profiled and surveilled communities in America, who described how this two-fisted border security buildup has taken a toll on their civil liberties. In a separate analysis, Del Bosque joins with reporter G.W. Schulz to uncover how Texas's $15 million high-altitude spy planes have surveilled one border town at least 357 times and may have traveled multiple times into Mexican territory.
  • Austin American-Statesman: Is Texas DPS skewing its border security stats - again?

    Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw went before Congress in April and touted nearly 40,000 arrests stemming from the department’s border surge of troopers in the Rio Grande Valley. The American-Statesman has long held DPS accountable when it comes to its border activities, and especially in how it has described the success of those efforts to lawmakers. With this story, we sought to continue in that watchdog role.
  • Border surge began as crime fell

    Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and other top state officials sold a massive border state police and Texas National Guard buildup on tales of violent transnational crime spilling across the Rio Grande River. In a void of federal border security, only Texas could stem the tide, the narrative went. But after a months-long open records battle with the Texas Department of Public Safety, a finalist for the 2015 IRE Golden Padlock Award, and an unprecedented data analysis, the Houston Chronicle proved violent crime rates had been declining for years before the surge and were not significantly affected by the extra manpower.
  • Dying to Get Back

    The death of Alfonso Martinez Sanchez, 39, in March 2012 sparked little attention. A construction worker and father of five who’d lived in Southern California for more than 20 years before being deported to Mexico, he was just another immigrant to die in the Arizona desert while attempting to cross back into the United States. But “Dying to Get Back,” a joint investigation by The Investigative Fund and PBS’s Need to Know, revealed that his death was part of a disturbing phenomenon: even as tighter border security has sent illegal border crossings plummeting, migrant deaths are on the rise — particularly among the deported parents of American children.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Honey Laundering

    "The story documented how the government has failed to stem the flow of banned honey imports into this country, despite tightened border security and growing concerns about food safety."
  • Sealing Our Borders: Why It Won't Work

    A four-part series examines the feasibility of sealing the 2,000 mile US-Mexican border and potential economic, political, environmental and cultural effects of doing so.
  • Border Insecurity

    The series examined the vulnerability of America's borders despite the millions spent to secure them after September 11, 2001. Stories focused on smuggling networks that channel thousands of illegal immigrants from 'special interest countries' (nations identified by the government as fostering terrorism)into the US; on the so-called 'catch and release' policy that frees large numbers of illegal immigrants with a court notice-to-appear that many ignore; and on the continued lack of monitoring on large stretches of the U.S.-Canada border, which has allowed some serious breeches.