Lacey and Larkin-Standing in the Gap

The debate about illegal immigration has raged for many years but it has a renewed life with the election of Donald Trump as President. Recently, Trump proved that he rewards supporters, even if they have been convicted of felony crimes. Trump pardoned Sheriff Joe Arpaio of all charges and Arpaio is once again a free man with no consequences. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://james-larkin.com/

Arpaio, who calls himself America’s Toughest Sheriff, has long been the ultimate law in Maricopa County, Arizona. He and his department are infamous for the profiling of Hispanics and Latinos to capture them for illegal immigration. Arpaio believes in doing anything necessary to send immigrants out of the country, not caring if he disrupts families and lives.

Even as far back as 2011, the sheriff was warned by Court Justice G. Murray Snow to stop the profiling and other illegal activities. Flouting his power, Joe Arpaio continued to focus on minorities.

This lead to a contempt charge in 2012 by Federal Judge Susan Bolton who raked Arpaio over the coals in open court for his policies and practices. She found that not only did Arpaio defy the court’s injunctions, but he also instructed his staff to do the same.

This ruling came after Arpaio lost his attempt at re-election as Sheriff. He had held the position for 24 years and many thought things were finally catching up to him. One organization that has long opposed Sheriff Arpaio is the Frontera Fund, created by Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey. Larkin and Lacey have a long record of being activists and advocates of the Hispanic and Latino population. In fact, the Frontera Fund was founded because of illegal acts of Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Lacey and Larkin own a media group in Maricopa County called the Village Voice Media. The newspapers associated with their media group, like the Phoenix Sun were proud reporters of many of the actions of the Sheriff’s Department.

The publications did not shy away from controversy. When Lacey and Larkin found out that a grand jury had been set up to look into the editors, readers and supporters of the paper, they did not hesitate to print the story. Consequently, the two men were arrested at their homes on October 18th, 2007. They were taken to the jail and booked for unknown charges.

As soon as the editors’ supporters heard about the arrests, they created a movement that saw the men released after 24 hours. Lacey and Larkin fought back and ultimately won a $3.7 million dollar settlement with Maricopa County. Read more: Michael Lacey | Facebook and Jim Larkin | Angel.co

Instead of pocketing this money, they used it to create the Frontera Fund, whose primary objective is to fight discrimination and speak for those minorities who can’t speak for themselves.

These men continue the fight against threats to the freedom of speech, civil and human rights.

They have dedicated their careers and lives to this cause. Even though the 85-year-old Joe Arpaio has been pardoned, it is comforting to know that there are still men out there like Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey who care.

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