Finding the DREAM in the Nightmare

With the promise of a Mexican border wall, the pardoning of Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio on August 25, and now the phasing out of DACA to begin in March, things seem stark for the 11 million undocumented Americans currently living, working, and going to school in the U.S.

With so much opposition, DREAMers and their allies are left asking, how do we fight this rising tidal wave of xenophobia? Organizations like the ACLU, ADAC, United We Dream, and the Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund are prepared to answer that question.

The Frontera Fund was launched by Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin following an unlawful arrest by the recently-convicted Joe Arpaio, the infamous Arizona sheriff known for his department’s systematic persecution of Latinos.

Lacey and Larkin of the Phoenix New Times were two of the first to report his abuses of power, and were essentially arrested for it. The two have since dedicated their $3.7 million settlement from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office to fund groups that advocate for civil, human, and migrant rights as well as freedom of speech and civic participation throughout Arizona.

Supported by Frontera is the Arizona DREAM Act Coalition, focusing on the fight for higher education and immigrant rights. ADAC recently condemned the Texas Governor and nine attorneys general for endorsing the termination of DACA last month. Founded from a support group for undocumented students, ADAC works at local and national levels to engage voters and raise awareness by giving a face to the DREAMer movement with the declaration, “Undocumented and Unafraid.”

One of ADAC’s highly successful projects is Education Not Deportation. END is a campaign focused on stopping the deportation of students, conceived under the leadership of United We Dream. Read more: Jim Larkin | LinkedIn and Village Voice Media | Wikipedia

According to its website, UWD is a nonpartisan network made up of immigrant youth and allies and 55 affiliates in 26 states, allowing them to replicate programs like END all over the country. Their “Right to Dream” campaign forced Obama to issue the DACA executive order in 2012, and they stand ready again to organize for undocumented youth and families.

Another national advocate for migrant rights is the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, “dedicated to expanding and enforcing the civil liberties and civil rights of immigrants and to combating public and private discrimination against them” (ACLU.org).

Through public outreach and precedent-setting legal cases, the ACLU focuses on challenging constitutional abuses like denying immigrants access to courts, imposing indefinite and mandatory detention, and anti-immigrant “show me your papers” laws like the one that made Joe Arpaio famous.

In the face of mounting opposition, these organizations are again working, on their own as well as together, to mobilize DREAMers, leaders, volunteers, and advocates across the country to provide a safety net for our nation’s immigrants.

Whether they’re working at the local or national level, challenging laws through visibility and votes or challenging them in court, groups like the Frontera Fund and their partners are fighting every day for migrant, civil, and human rights.

Learn more about Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin:

http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/potmsearch/detail/submission/6427818/Michael_Lacey

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