The U.S. government spends approximately $1.84 billion annually detaining immigrants. Presently, there are over 41 million immigrants living in the United States. Back in 2013, 83% of the individuals deported from the U.S. weren’t given a hearing before a judge.
When governments have the authority to deny due processes and legal rights to certain vulnerable groups, everyone’s human rights are at risk. The Immigrants’ Rights ACLU Project is committed to enforcing and expanding the civil rights and civil liberties of immigrants. Moreover, it is dedicated to combating private and public discrimination against immigrants.
Using advocacy, public outreach, and targeted impact litigation, the ACLU protects the liberties and rights of immigrants. For over 25 years now, the ACLU has held the front position of almost all key legal struggles on immigrants’ rights behalf. It focuses on challenging laws especially the ones that deny immigrants right of entry to the courts, discriminate on nationality basis, and impose mandatory and indefinite detention.
Additionally, the ACLU has challenged constitutional abuses that occur as a result of immigration enforcement at the local, state, and federal levels. For instance, ‘show me your papers’ anti-immigrant laws at the state level as well as unconstitutional enforcement approaches by local agencies and the federal government.
The Larkin & Lacey Frontera Fund
On 18th October 2007, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin were arrested by Maricopa County Sherriff armed deputies. They were removed from their homes areas forcibly and thrown into unmarked SUVs with Mexican license plates and dark tinted windows.
Later, the Village Voice Media executives were booked into separate jails run by Sherriff Joe Arpaio. Arpaio was the man behind the instigation and carrying out the arrests. The Phoenix New Times newspaper had exposed Arpaio’s misdeeds and the role he played in promoting political posturing and anti-Mexican fear-mongering in Arizona.
Larkin and Lacey were arrested for writing a cover story that made public how Arpaio’s associates had issued grand jury subpoenas inquiring details about writers, editors, and readers of the newspaper including the IP addresses and personal browsing histories of readers. Larkin and Lacey wrote about the issue rather than caving to the subpoenas. After not more than 24 hours, Larkin and Lacey were released following a loud national outcry and all charges were dropped.
The detention of Larkin and Lacey was illegal and set off an extended court battle centered on abuse of power and First Amendment rights. It was noted that Lacey and Larkin grand jury subpoenas were invalid since the prosecutor had sidestepped the needed legal procedures. According to the court, Larkin and Lacey were arrested without probable cause.
Following the court ruling, Maricopa County was ordered to pay Larkin and Lacey $3.7 million. The duo allocated the money for a unique initiative; the Frontera Fund meant to largely help the Hispanic community in Arizona.
Presently, the Larkin and Lacey Frontera Fund supports groups that promote human, immigrant and civil rights.
Additionally, the fund supports groups that advocate for civil participation and freedom of speech throughout Arizona.