Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey fighting for the voice of immigrants

The pardoning of the controversial figure- both on the national and in Maricopa County, Arizona scene- Joe Arpaio, caused an uproar and mixed reactions. On the one hand, those who were victims of the former county sheriff of Maricopa county wanted him to face the music.

On the other hand, the nationalist groups were of the opinion that Joe Arpaio was a hero who was trying to fight illegal immigration. Joe Arpaio has been known to be a hardliner when it comes to enforcing laws concerning illegal immigration.

However, he is also known to have crossed the lines violating both the civil and human rights of the people of Maricopa County. His continued aggressive enforcing of the law at the expense of the rights of others gave birth to groups and organizations that wanted to restore the voice of the people of Maricopa County.

Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey were on the forefront in bringing Joe Arpaio’s unlawful acts to light. Michael Lacey was born in Newark, New Jersey and moved to Arizona I the 1960s to study at Arizona State University. In 1970, Lacey together with his friends published the pioneer issue for Phoenix New Times in response to the biased coverage by the local media concerning antiwar protests on campuses.

Jim Larkin was Michael Lacey’s partner and was also in charge of advertising for the New Times and the paper attracted more and more readers over the years. The New Times wrote about issues concerning social and political occurrences from across the board. Exposing the social injustices that were happening in Maricopa County was among the topics the paper wrote.

Joe Arpaio who was the county sheriff for Maricopa at that time-inaugurated in 1992-was engaging in racial profiling against immigrants of Mexican and Latino origins. It was reported that those targeted mostly were the Latino and Mexican drivers.

Furthermore, Larkin and Lacey exposed the harsh predicaments faced by the detainees in Tent City. Arpaio at some point got fed up with the continued efforts of Larkin and Lacey and had them arrested after they exposed that there were subpoenas from a specific prosecution group targeting the editors of New Times, the executive team and the readers.

This arrest took place in the year 2007, and it caused an outcry and Larkin, and Lacey were released on the very same day. The duo then filed a suit against Joe Arpaio, and his office and they received a settlement of $3.7million. Subsequently, Larkin and Lacey used the funds from the settlement to form the Frontera Fund.

The Frontera Fund is an organization that funds the groups that lobby for the rights of immigrants in the county of Maricopa. A lot of human rights movements and organizations both on the regional and national platform have joined in the fight for the rights of immigrants.

Even though Joe Arpaio would not be facing any jail time, the efforts of Larkin and Lacey indeed paid off, and the fight for the rights of immigrants continues.

Learn more about Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin:

http://frontpageconfidential.com/michael-lacey-jim-larkin-arpaio-frontera-fund-first-amendment/ and http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/blogs/az-aclu-honors-new-times-founders-jim-larkin-and-mike-lacey-as-civil-libertarians-of-the-year-6500737