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Dear reader,

Real reporting from TucsonSentinel.com is the antidote for fake news — and right now, your gift to support nonprofit independent local journalism will be matched, dollar-for-dollar!

Give your tax-deductible gift today. And through the end of the month, every donation (up to $1,000 per individual) will be doubled by News Match, an important initiative to strengthen selected nonprofit newsrooms funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Democracy Fund. This is a great opportunity to help us produce more of the strong accountability journalism you have come to expect from TucsonSentinel.com.

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Want to mail a check instead of donating online? Please make it payable to "FCIR" and send to: 1960 N. Painted Hills, Tucson AZ 85745. Thanks!

If you've already donated, thanks so much for your support.

If you haven't yet, join recent donors like Humberto Lopez, Mark Napier, Judy Sensibar, Laurel Cooper, Steve Johnston, Betty Beard, Gregory McNamee, JD Wallace, Robin Hoover, Laura Horton Charles, Martha O. Wright, Jo M. Holt, Steve Kleinsmith, Pamela Hyde-Nakai, Jennifer Murphy, Georgia Brousseau, Kris LaFleur, Maeve Robertson, Chuck Freitas, Regina Suitt, Michael Guymon, Chris Hostetter, Jill Madden, Donna Mabry, Katie Bolger, Claire Wudowsky, Elizabeth Ervin, Jennifer Powers Murphy, Molly Klein, Kathleen Stocker, Connie Engird, Laurie Jurs, Judith Bird, Daniel Dominguez, Souls Solace, Esther Brilliant, Barbara Kelly, Nora Evans-Reitz, Paul D'Hedouville, Rick Unklesbay, Marilyn Saul, Cindy Laughlin, Penny Waterstone, Chris Rodriguez, Janni Simner, Tom Volgy, Byron Howard, Joanna Coogan, Judith Koffler, Susan Skirvin, Corinne Cooper, Monica Bauer, Jason Ground, Fred Seger, Darlene Boyd, Allison Riggle, Michael Ingram, Katharine Peterson, Andrea Rickard, Sally Sumner, Julie Frank, Marian Hill, Neva Schuelke, Mary Dorgan, Catherine Friederich/OM Properities, Lynette Casey, Wes Hooker, Lara Rubio, Catherine Gale, Susan Gallegos, San Geronimo Creek Galleria, Gerald Anderson, Kate Lepage, David Joseph, Michael Milczarek, Duncan Stitt, Mark Mason, and Laura Horton-Charles, as well as Tim O'Grady, Michelle Shelton, Byron Howard, David Bryan, Sierra Yamanaka, Susan Miller, Tom Volgy, David Mandel, Betsy Bolding, Joel Fineman, Jennifer Phillips, Paula Toffolo, Tom Walker, Larry N. Deutsch, William F. Parker, Catherine Gale, Kurt Reighley, Sharon Bronson, Ron Barber and many others, and give your gift today!

Our team will always be there to expose the facts and confront pressing challenges head-on. But we can’t do it alone. Donations keep us going, and this month we have a rare opportunity to receive up to $28,000 of additional funding.

Like what you're reading? Support high-quality local journalism and help underwrite independent news without the spin.

From now through Sunday, News Match — a national fundraising campaign for nonprofit news sources — will double any donation up to $1,000. That means if Sentinel supporters give $28,000, we’ll raise a total of $56,000. Will you donate now to help us meet that goal?

Working on a tiny budget, TucsonSentinel.com's attracted local respect and national attention for our solid work:

Recently, we were the first news outlet here to report about most of Arizona's GOP delegation in Congress lobbying to rescind the Ironwood Forest National Monument. The Sentinel was the only news outlet to dig into who had received a settlement negotiated by Raul Grijalva. No other news organizations dug into how political committees were ignoring financial reporting laws in Tucson's city election. The main reporting on Ally Miller's public records dodges has been done by TucsonSentinel.com. And that's just a start:

We were the only news organization anywhere — not just in Arizona, but in the country — to report that Congress was moving to exempt the Border Patrol from Freedom of Information laws. Because of our work, that provision was quickly stripped from a border bill.

That's right:

​Does it sound like a good idea for one of the largest law enforcement agencies in the world to be able to essentially operate as secret police, without any public accountability?

The Border Patrol and other agencies of Customs and Border Protection have already been given sweeping powers to ignore certain constitutional rights within 100 miles of the border. Two-thirds of the U.S. population lives within that border zone — which includes the Tucson area and most of Southern Arizona — where they can set up immigration checkpoints, conduct searches in ways that you'd think would violate the 4th Amendment, and do routinely go beyond their broad authority and violate civil rights.

At least we can keep tabs on them through freedom of information, right?

Well, Congress very nearly handed CBP a blank check to ignore FOIA. Buried deep in a bill in October was a loophole that would have exempted CBP from FOIA entirely, for anything and everything they did within that 100-mile border zone.

A single news organization in the entire country wrote about that exemption before the bill was put to a committee vote: TucsonSentinel.com.

Like what you're reading? Support high-quality local journalism and help underwrite independent news without the spin.

We published an editorial the evening before the House Committee on Homeland Security held a markup session on the law, after we asked questions about why CBP should be allowed to keep data and records about its border enforcement activities under wraps.

When we were met with silence and excuses, we told Southern Arizona residents that their congresswoman, Martha McSally, was a co-sponsor of a bill that would allow Border Patrol to operate in the dark.

"Whether you support or oppose Trump's wall, strongly favor more stringent immigration enforcement or are adamantly opposed, not knowing if CBP is doing its job fairly and effectively should not be an option," we wrote.

The very next day, McSally quickly amended the bill to remove that provision.

Just one other news outlet in the nation even reported about the FOIA loophole being pulled — a brief notice in the Dallas Morning News.

It matters that we have quality local reporting taking place, because righting wrongs and making communities work better eventually means good things for all of us.

TucsonSentinel.com is a nonprofit local news organization, and we rely on readers and small businesses right here in Tucson and Southern Arizona to help us do the reporting that makes us all smarter, wiser and more rounded citizens.

It's vital that we have journalism here that's invested in the success and future of this community — support TucsonSentinel.com today!

As part of our nonprofit mission, we've pledged to make our work widely available. We're not setting up a paywall, as we want everyone in Southern Arizona to be able to read our work. When you donate, whether it's a check for $50 or $500, or a recurring monthly gift of $20, you're not just supporting your own ability to read quality local journalism — you're making it available to your friends and family, your neighbors and the folks who live on the other side of town.

It takes a lot of energy and scrappiness to uphold the high quality of our reporting. And it takes money. Our staff are talented professionals, some with decades of experience in investigative and community journalism. And maintaining our computers, website, cameras, replacing worn-out shoe leather and putting gas in trucks for trips through the desert adds to our costs.

To make things work, we rely on donations from readers like you. That's why TucsonSentinel.com needs your help with this tremendous News Match opportunity. Please give your gift today.

Investigative journalism has long been at the heart of an informed public, and today it matters like never before. In recent years, declining budgets have cut into the in-depth investigative reporting that exposes hard truths. Nonprofit news organizations like ours fill a critical need — one we can't afford to lose.

Your support today will allow us to fill that need and drive change through stories that challenge, inform, and inspire. Without you, those stories go untold.

Help us reach our goal of $56,000. Donate now to invest in the groundbreaking serious journalism we can't afford to go without.

With gratitude,
Dylan Smith, Editor & Publisher, TucsonSentinel.com

P.S. Because of News Match, when you give today your $50 donation becomes $100, your $100 gift becomes $200, and so on.

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TucsonSentinel.com publishes analysis and commentary from a variety of community members, experts, and interest groups as a catalyst for a healthy civic conversation; we welcome your comments. As an organization, we don't endorse candidates or back specific legislation. All opinions are those of the individual authors.