America prides itself for a number of things. Chief among them liberty, democracy, bravery and most importantly, freedom. The terms “freedom” and “bravery” are patriotically sung out by every American whenever the Star-Spangled Banner is sang.
It is a country that was formed by immigrants coming from all corners of the world in search of freedom. Till this day, many immigrants escape their tumultuous backgrounds and travel to America in search of better opportunities.
It is, therefore, ironic that America has in recent years found itself in a conundrum regarding the legal status of immigrants. It has become a much-discussed topic that seriously divided opinion. There are those who are of the opinion that the country must remain true to its identity of freedom and the 14th Amendment by giving immigrants a fair hearing in front of the courts and the public’s eyes.
One such organization is the National Immigration Law Center (NILC). This organization has for the last four decades been protecting and advancing the rights of needy immigrants through impact litigation. The organization also relies on its wide legal expertise to provide policy interpretation, strategic communication, and policy advocacy, all aimed at helping immigrants.
While the organization’s contribution to protecting the rights of low-income immigrants do not go beyond the legal sphere, it also collaborates with other like-minded civil rights bodies to provide holistic help.
The National Immigration Forum is another organization working to address the plight of immigrants in America. Founded in 1982, the organization has persistently been advocating for the rights of immigrants and the value they provide for the country. The organization recognizes that there issues related to economy and security around the immigration question in America. It, therefore, seeks to provide practical input that is cognizant of these issues but remains true to America’s tolerant identity. The main areas that the forum focuses on are the integration of immigrants, humane enforcement of immigration laws and immigration policy.
Among the collection of many such organizations is a smaller one founded by Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey. The two journalist formerly co-owned two progressive media platforms: Village Voice Media and the Phoenix New Times. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://www.laceyandlarkinfronterafund.org/about-lacey-larkin-frontera-fund/ and http://www.laceyandlarkinfronterafund.org/
Years of working in journalism and seeing how things can sometimes be bad on the ground left them with a yearning to help those whose civil rights were constantly being violated. They, however, lacked the resources.
These resources would ironically come by accident after Larkin and Lacey won a case against their local Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Sheriff Arpaio had previously arrested the two for, among other things, publishing his address on one of their newspapers.
However, knowing that the article constituted free speech and was thus protected by the First Amendment, Larkin and Lacey sued Maricopa County for false arrest. They won a substantial settlement of $3.75 million.
In what can only be described as a truly selfless move, Lacey and Larkin decided to use the settlement to fund their Frontera Fund. The fund would use the resources towards protecting the rights of the less advantaged in society, more specifically concentrating on migrant, civil and human rights advocacy.