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“However, the program authorization expired and most states have exhausted their available funds. To date, no one has championed a reauthorization,” Mr. Austin said.

Nogales officials took umbrage to having this kind of attention called to their city.

“One of our main concerns is that national media picks up on Nogales and all of a sudden it turns negative, rather than the positives of life living here,” Mr. White said.

Deputy City Manager John E. Kissinger said the city simply considers the uncompensated funds to be bad debt, just like if any other patient didn’t pay the bill from an ambulance call.

“If you strip it down to its basic and its logic, you can probably anticipate this type of debt. Now, if you want to make a bigger immigration story, you’re speaking to the wrong person,” he said.

“Sometimes you read some of these stories, what we’re talking is, ‘Well, if the undocumented immigrants weren’t in the U.S., we wouldn’t have that cost,’” he said. “But that’s not what we’re here about. The city of Nogales is here to provide the best emergency response as we can.”