Frontera Fund: Pushing Back Against Efforts Curtailing the Rights of Immigrants

Over the past few months, there has been growing efforts to push back on programs and initiatives aimed at protecting the rights of immigrants in the United States. While some of the efforts have not moved beyond public proclamations and utterances especially by leaders, some states leaders have gone a state further to launch legal actions against programs such as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The multi-frontal attacks on the DACA program has seen a total of nine attorneys and a state governor sign a letter addressed to federal government headed by Donald Trump. In the letter, the leaders primarily drawn from GOP leaning states demand for the progressive phasing out of the program, which protects over 800,000 undocumented youths in the United States. The leaders propose that the program be phased out in various phases, which include terminating new applications and renewals before rescinding the program by September 5, 2017.


The demands, which threaten legal action if the government fails to meet their demands, saw the Secretary of Homeland meet several Hispanic Caucus leaders in a closed meeting to discuss the way forward. The legality of the program has already been challenged in a court of law. The worrisome atmosphere surrounding the fate of the thousands of youths whose lives are now in jeopardy has forced several organizations such as the Frontera Fund to reassure them of their support in pushing back these new efforts.


The Frontera Fund: A Silver Lining Founding


The founding of the Frontera Fund epitomizes the relentless quest of good natured humans to find a silver lining in every dark cloud. The fund was set up by Mike Lacey and Jim Larkin using the settlement fee they were awarded by the court after winning a lawsuit against Maricopa County. The two journalists and founders of two media houses were illegally arrested on the orders of Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County for running an exposure on him in the online issue of their newspaper, Phoenix New Times. The stories covered the sheriff’s wide ranging anti-Mexican immigrant misdeeds, financial misappropriations and abuse of power. They also reported on death of inmates under the sheriff’s care, perpetuation of hatred of Mexican immigrants and illegal detention, prosecution and racial abuse of Latinos. The two journalists were arrested and issued with grand jury subpoenas to reveal their court notes, identity of individuals who read their stories, their IP addresses and identity of the articles’ editors.


They challenged their illegal detention and grand jury subpoenas. They won and were awarded $3.7 million in settlement fee. The funds will be used to finance organizations and initiatives dedicated to protecting immigrant rights and First Amendment in Arizona. One such initiative include DACA, which is a program dedicated to facilitating the acquisition of U.S citizenship by young undocumented people. Youths who meet the criteria for approval are protected against deportation and can even access driving licenses, federal school tuition fees and work.