The Frontera Fund has been seen as a tool of justice and bringing meaningful change to immigration laws and making sure innocent people making the journey are given good treatment. Even more so, they are working to make sure the wrongs that former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio did to immigrants in the Phoenix community are never repeated.
Frontera Fund founders Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey have experienced the wrongs of Arpaio firsthand when he used his power to wrongfully arrest them. Arpaio had used a variety of other controversial measures as sheriff and had even faced criminal charges recently though President Trump made sure that wouldn’t happen by giving him a pardon.
However, Larkin and Lacey are concerned with getting the real stories out of wrongfully accused immigrants and making sure reforms are enacted to fix immigration laws which they hope will eradicate the controversial legacy of Arpaio.
Lacey and Larkin have been running a news organization that gets stories out there you wouldn’t otherwise know about since their news is generally considered to be non-mainstream. They first started writing newspapers back when they were both attending Arizona State University back in the early 1970s.
The main stories being covered at that time were protests of the Vietnam War and what they thought were unfair depictions being made of the activists.
It led them to start writing an independent newspaper that they sold throughout the city of Phoenix and soon realized it had the potential to be a big national phenomena. It became widely-read and soon Village Voice Media became the parent company to the Phoenix New Times paper that Larkin and Lacey were fully invested in now.
The Phoenix New Times covered a broad range of issues after the Vietnam War which included the rolling out of NAFTA, the aftermath of 9-11, the fallout of Enron, and the financial crisis of 2008. Immigration had always been an included topic in the newspaper, but it became even bigger when Arpaio took the office of sheriff in 1992. Read more: Michael Lacey | Twitter and Jim Larkin | Crunchbase
Arpaio was known for using extreme incarceration methods in the Maricopa County Jail including having inmates wear pink, feeding them spoiled food, and even having a tent city in one of the state’s desert prisons.
But his deputies were often ordered to conduct raids on certain immigrant neighborhoods and would unlawfully detain them sometimes. That sparked a long lasting feud between Arpaio and the two journalists that culminated in a long court hearing. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://frontpageconfidential.com/michael-lacey-jim-larkin-arpaio-frontera-fund-first-amendment/ and https://thenewsversion.com/2017/08/the-fall-of-sheriff-joe-arpaio-after-jim-larkin-and-michael-lacey-controversy/
What happened was along with the stories published about Arpaio’s immigrant arrests and heavy-handed tactics, Larkin and Lacey ran a story about hidden funds he was receiving and it sparked a back and forth between the sheriff’s department and the Village Voice Media offices.
A few years into this story, Arpaio sent his deputies in unmarked vehicles to arrest Larkin and Lacey and seize some of their assets. But the backlash against the sheriff was so strong by what was perceived as an overreach of power, and even a judge ruled that the arrest had been unlawful.
Larkin and Lacey later sued Arpaio and won $3 million in damages that they used to open the Frontera Fund. They’ve seen quite the support for their foundation from people of many political backgrounds.