Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund: Advocating for Civil, Migrant, and Human Rights

On October 18, 2007, Jim and Michael were arrested by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

The two are the Phoenix New Times and Village Voice Media co-founders. Sheriff Arpaio arrested them in the middle of the night and detained for bringing to light the existence of grand jury proceedings seeking reporters’ notes on articles covering the sheriff.

Additionally, subpoenas were demanding the identity of citizens who read stories about the sheriff on New Times. The two journalists sued the county and won their case at the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

They were awarded a $3.75 million settlement which they have set aside to fund migrants’ rights organizations in Arizona through their fund, the Lacey, and Larkin Frontera Fund.

Justice for Immigrants & Families Project (JIF)

One of the organizations funded by the Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund is the Justice for Immigrants & Families Project (JIF). This organization is a project of the Phoenix Legal Action Network which is made up of pro bono attorneys who offer their services to protect the rights of immigrants, racial minorities, women, the LGBTQ+ community, and religious minorities.

They do so by advocating for freedom of speech, criminal justice reform, police accountability and voting rights. Learn more about Jim Larkin:

JIF is committed to providing immigrants with legal services because the presence of a lawyer more often than not results in a dispositive outcome in immigration cases. This is pegged on the fact that the chances of a non-detained immigrant winning relief from deportation go up by five times if he/she has access to attorney services.

Before its formation, there was no organization offering free legal services to non-detained immigrants in Maricopa County, Arizona. The formation of JIF is timely given the heightened implementation of the latest Executive Orders on immigration by the Trump administration.

Services Offered by JIF

Given that Arizona hosts up to 325,000 undocumented individuals, JIF provides and promotes access to justice for immigrants in Maricopa County. The aim and goal of the organization are ensuring that the immigration status of an individual is not a hindrance to their access to social and economic opportunities. The organization does this by offering various services. Read more: Phoenix New Time and Village Voice Media | Wikipedia

It represents immigrants in removal proceedings by referring their cases to pro bono lawyers and also conducts group workshops and “know your rights” orientation sessions for these individuals.

Additionally, JIF provides immigrants with legal consultations and gives them access to self-help legal guides.