The co-founders of the Phoenix News Times and Village Voice Media created the Frontera Fund to fight for civil, human and migrant rights in the state of Arizona.
The $3.75 million settlement awarded Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin as the results of a suit against the Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is now being used to fund such causes as the Arizona Justice Project, the Arizona D REAM Act Coalition, Center for Neighborhood Leadership and the American Immigration Council. October 18, 2007, Sheriff Joe Arpaio sent deputies known as the “Selective Enforcement Unit” to handcuff and arrest Mike Lacy and Jim Larkin.
The two co-founders were at the mercy of the man who called himself “America’s Toughest Sheriff because the Phoenix News Times published reports of his abuses of power, financial irregularities and mismanagement of the sheriff’s office.
After being forcibly removed from their homes, shoved into unmarked SUVs with Mexican license plates, the executives were later booked into separate jails. Sheriff Arpaio and his allies at the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office had subpoenas for information such as writers, editors and readers including the readers’ personal browsing histories and IP addresses. All charges were dropped against Lacey and Larkin as a result of a loud national outcry and the two were released from jail withing 24 hours.
After the court ruled that the subpoenas were unlawful and Lacey and Larkin were arrested without probable cause, the $3.7 million was awarded in 2013.
The Frontera Fund was earmarked to help the Hispanic community that had been the victims of racial and civil rights abuses in Arizona. Larkin said he think that the Mexican immigrants who braved the desert to travel to Arizona for work and economic opportunity are a deserving group.
Mike Lacey spoke of the demonizing behavior of Sheriff Joe Arpaio toward Mexican migrants as well as anyone with brown skin, American citizens or not, promoted fear. Fear was further promoted by an advertisement that ran during the 2014 election showing Mexicans crossing the border as ISIS terrorist.
Mike Lacey pointed out that in this country, were are all migrants. With the Statue of Liberty as a constant invitation to the downtrodden to come, the Frontera Fund is helping to deliver on that promise.The Dreamers are more worthy of that promise than most because it was not their choice to be on American soil but one of life’s circumstances.
They have lived their entire lives as Americans, socialized, educated and participating in all the responsibilities of American citizenship. It is unfair to punish this generation. It can be compared to raising animals in captivity than throwing them out in the wild. It is good that the Frontera Fund is looking out for their interest and well being.