The Washington Times headlines Stephen Dinan’s intriguing report “Feds stiff Arizona border town for ambulance costs for immigrants.” It’s a great title, calling attention to the double edged sword of federal inaction coupled with Mexican negligence.
The report highlights the fact that the city of Nogales, Arizona has billed the federal government for hundreds of ambulance responses dispatched to calls from federal agents but the government has paid less than 20 cents on the dollar — leaving the American border town of Nogales to bear the responsibility of more than $250,000 in the past fiscal year alone.
Approximately 60 miles south of Tucson, Nogales is home to a population of about 20,000 residents. It is the major portal for illegal immigration into the United States. Dinan reports that proximity means federal customs, immigration and drug agents have a heavy presence as well. When injuries occur, it’s the city’s rescue service that responds
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which maintains the spending data, and wouldn’t speak on the record — indicated any move to replenish the fund for all the states would have to be made by Congress.
Meanwhile Nogales, Arizona, in Santa Cruz County, is buckling under the heavy load. During the 2012-13 fiscal year, the city responded to 248 calls and billed the federal government $300,058, but recouped just $47,740, according to figures obtained by the Nogales International newspaper and confirmed by city officials.
The previous year, the city billed $277,382 for 230 calls and was reimbursed just $29,919.
If there was a similar report in the pages of the Periódico de la República de Arizona (Arizona Republic), we missed it. Open border enthusiast /editorialist Linda Valdez is quick to tout the wonders of her vision of a vibrant border marketplace and its economic enhancements. A good place to start would be having Mexico shoulder responsibility for its own citizens illegally invading the USA rather than foisting the astronomical costs on border communities such as Nogales.