The Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund began in 2007. They’ve been fighting for immigration rights ever since. In past years, Mexican immigrants have been harassed, imprisoned, and deported at alarming rates. Founders Jim Larkin and Mike Lacey started the Frontera Fund because of harassment they’d received themselves.
In 2007, Joe Arpaio was Sheriff of Maricopa County. He was well-known for his harsh behavior and abusive tactics. Arpaio is anti-immigration and he systematically targeted Latinos during his time as Sheriff. His rampant mismanagement and abuses were ignored by most news companies. However, The Phoenix New Times was paying attention. They reported on Arpaio’s racist persecution, profiling, and imprisonment of Latinos. He was outraged at the newspaper and issued subpoenas for information.
The information Arpaio requested included the browsing history and IP addresses of the newspaper’s readers, writers, and editors. This is where Jim Larkin and Mike Lacey come in. They decided to write an article instead of responding to the subpoenas. Their article detailed Joe Arpaio’s ridiculous request and called it unconstitutional.
This led to their arrest.
Jim Larkin and Mike Lacey were arrested at their homes in Arizona by Arpaio’s Selective Enforcement Unit. They were removed from their homes and forced into dark SUVs with Mexican license plates. They were then taken to jails that Arpaio managed. They were arrested for exercising their rights to freedom of speech and freedom of the press.
They were released within twenty-four hours due to the massive outcry that ensued after their arrest. The charges were dropped, but the case against their illegal imprisonment was just beginning. The proceedings were focused on the abuse of power by Arpaio and his attempt to stifle their First Amendment rights. Jim Larkin and Mike Lacey were consequently awarded a settlement of over three million dollars in 2013. The judge and jury also decided that the subpoenas were unlawful because certain legal procedures weren’t followed. Their arrest was also found unlawful due to the lack of probable cause.
The illegal arrests of Jim Larkin and Mike Lacey are what led to the founding of the Frontera Fund. After being awarded over three million dollars, Larkin and Lacey put the money aside to start the Frontera Fund. It began with the initiative to benefit the Hispanic community, and fight those who oppress it.
Arpaio’s fear-mongering spread to both parties in 2014. Both political sides became more extreme on the issue of immigration that year. During this time, Lacey and Larkin started to show financial support to non-profit groups and advocates of Hispanic Civil Rights and causes.
The Frontera Fund still offers assistance, information, and support to those groups today. Jim Larkin and Mike Lacey believe in supporting immigration. They understand the fact that we’re all immigrants, and that’s the idea this country was built on.
( Sources )