Frontera Fund: Towards Greater Awareness of Immigrant Rights

Over the years, efforts aimed at pushing back against various pro-immigrant rights programs and initiatives have rarely moved beyond public proclamations by anti-immigrant political leaders and various entities. However, the election of Donald J. Trump as the president of the United States has significantly changed this common narrative. One immigrant integration program that has come under sustained attacks from various quarters is the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Established five years ago, the program has achieved numerous milestones when it comes to helping undocumented youths integrate into the American society through study, work and in some cases, both. The program currently has over 800,000 beneficiaries.


DACA program beneficiaries are currently facing uncertainties as some political leaders have launched a full frontal attack against the organization. These leaders including Ken Paxton, the Texan attorney general, have issued an ultimatum to President Trump’s administration. In a letter signed by a governor and nine attorneys drawn primarily from GOP-leaning states, Ken Paxton has threatened legal action against the administration and the organization if the president does not annul the organization by 5 September 2017. In their letter, the leaders proposed that the program be scrapped off in phases. The process should begin with stopping new applications and renewals before totally rescinding it. Secretary John Kelly of Homeland Security acknowledged the growing legal push back against the program during a consensus and consultative closed-door meeting with the Hispanic Caucus.


Frontera Fund’s Pushing Back Against Anti-immigrant Rights Efforts


On the backdrop on the sustained attacks on immigrant rights including the proposed building of a wall between Mexico and U.S. border, Frontera Fund has emerged as a champion of immigrant rights in Arizona. In the ongoing push back against organizations and programs supporting immigrant rights such as the DACA program, the Frontera Fund has offered to support these organizations especially financially to ensure they survive the onslaught and continue to dispense their very crucial roles.


The decision to support these organizations and initiatives is symbolic. The Phoenix, Arizona-based fund was founded using a settlement fee from a legal case involving infringement on First Amendment rights of two journalists who had written exposures on how Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio was waging a racially-charged against Latino immigrants. Following their arrests by the deputies from Maricopa County who were armed with unconstitutional grand jury subpoenas, Mike Lacey and Jim Larkin embarked on a protracted court battle against Maricopa County. They eventually won the battle a few years later and were paid $3.75 million by Maricopa County as settlement fee. It is this money that they dedicated to fighting human rights causes in Arizona.



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