Best estimates say there are over 11 million immigrants living across America today. According to the general public, the undocumented — those living here without express permission from the U.S. government — are Hispanic, Mexican and have breached the southwestern border covertly.
In the eyes of their advocates, they are working families, taking only the jobs most others feel are beneath them. They keep out of trouble to stay focused on a goal of creating better, safer lives for themselves and their children.
At the Capitol, they are the unsightly. The criminals who menace American neighborhoods. They take American jobs, fleece American resources and exploit American generosity: They must be, and will be, expelled. Read more: Phoenix New Time and Jim Larkin |LinkedIn
Illegal immigrants may fit many of these descriptions, and more. Eleven million allows for a vast range, scored with contradictions. In many cases, the blind eyes of justice and the zeal of her incarnate proxies’ results in sweeping judgments that carry away innocents as collateral casualties.
Activist groups, such as the Arizona Justice Project, heed the call of those suffering injustice due to lack of proper representation. The group collaborates with law schools in Arizona, pro-bono attorneys and expert investigators to provide a variety of evidence that would otherwise be lacking in cases of this nature. As of this year, Arizona Justice Project is involved in over 35 cases at various stages within the appeals process.
Other groups have taken a national platform to incite change. The Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC submitted an amicus brief, at both the certiorari and merits stage, to highlight the importance of the Lee v. United States case and its potential impact on immigrants. In this case, Mr. Jae Lee had plead guilty to criminal charges after his counsel assured that he would not be deported by doing so.
Lee’s attorney ascertained that if deportation was not written in the plea agreement, ‘the government cannot deport you.’ Unfortunately, the attorney was wrong. Now the owner of two self-started restaurants and a legal permanent U.S. resident, was in the clutches of mandatory deportation. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/potmsearch/detail/submission/6427818/Michael_Lacey and http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/immigration/2014/12/16/proceeds-arpaio-suit-fund-asu-journalism-chair/20480479/
The AJCC highlighted this case for Supreme Court consideration because of the potential implications for countless legal permanent residents who could be at risk of deportation based on misguided or fallacious legal advice. Specifically regarding the immigration consequences of their decisions in criminal proceedings.
On a focused local level, The Frontera Fund exists to curb acts of directed malignant injustices by contemptuous authoritative figures. Its origins are rooted as a result of such actions. Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin, Village Voice Media Executives, were forcibly removed from their homes on the night of October 18, 2007.
Their illegal detention was a result of the printing of an Arizona grand jury subpoena, demanding they disclose the IP address of all visitors to the New Times website, all notes, records, documents, e-mails, files, etc. relating to Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. This blatant abuse of power and glaring disregard for First Amendment rights did not go unnoticed by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
As a result, a seed funding of $3.7 million for The Frontera Fund appeared in bittersweet form. This settlement, paid by Maricopa County, to Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin was devoted to initialize a movement that would expressly benefit the Hispanic community. A community that has quietly endured the majority of acrimonious treatment and civil rights abuses in Arizona.
Each of these groups, and many others like them, would agree to this mantra: when injustice happens to an individual, our collective freedoms suffer as well.