Mike Lacey and Jim Larkin launched the Frontera Fund with the money received from the aftermath of one of the most outrageous acts of harassment and abuse of government power this country has ever seen. In October of 2007, Jim and Mike were forcibly taken from their homes without just cause and imprisoned by the notorious Sherriff of Maricopa County, Joe Arpaio.
Mike and Jim had been working for the Village Voice Media and the Phoenix New Times. They published the financial irregularities, mistreatment of inmates and the abuse of power shown by the Maricopa Sherriff and his posse called the Selective Enforcement Unit. Joe Arpaio and his deputies had been terrorizing Maricopa Country for years. They showed blatant racial profiling and unconstitutional detention of Mexican immigrants crossing the border into Arizona.
The Sherriff was forced to release Jim and Mike within 24 hours, as he had no probably cause or justification for his behavior other than anger and the abuse of power. Jim and Mike won a long lawsuit in 2012 due to the violation of their First Amendment rights. Joe ordered the arrest solely on the basis of public criticism.
The two men were awarded $3.7 million by the Maricopa County, which they used to form the Frontera Fund. The Frontera Fund protects and educates immigrants and their civil rights.
Joe Arpaio had supported Trumps presidential nomination and his idea of a border wall. This helped Arpaio when he was investigated. In 2017, President Trump provided a Presidential pardon to the Sherriff. This blatant act of favoritism and corruption caused uproar and provided more backing of the Frantera Fund.
Today, the Fronera Fund is fighting to protect migrant rights and opportunities. Recently, the Fund has began supporting the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The program offers migrants who arrived as children a chance to start a legal and safe life in America. If certain prerequisites are met the immigrants will not be deported and they will even be given social security numbers and work opportunities. However the program is under heavy attack. Attorney General Ken Paxton has asked the Trump Administration to abolish the program and quickly phase it out. This means new migrants can not apply for DACA and holders of DACA documents will not be allowed to renew their papers.
This will lead to a mass deportation, the destruction of families and a loss that is incomprehensible and irreversible. The Frontera Fund is working closely with the DREAMers foundation. Secretary of Homeland Security, John Kelly met with the Hispanic Caucus describing the impending legal action and attack on the DACA programs.
There is no need to be worried, but those looking to renew their DACA should be aware of extremist looking to deport them. The University of Berkeley has consistently faught for migrant rights and continues to ensure the safety and protection of DACA members. The University advises to make an appointment with legal services with and attorney. Do not apply alone. If you meet the prerequisites the process to apply or renew your DACA is quick and easy. The Frontera Fund, DREAMers and the University of California, Berkeley are working together to protect the future of this country.