It was established by two journalists, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin. They had been arrested from their homes one evening in October 2007. The order to capture them was given by Maricopa County Sheriff, Joe Arpaio, for covering his story. They were later put in jail, although it did not last long.
Larkin and Lacey had exposed the sheriff’s misdeeds in Phoenix News Times stories. Arpaio, the sheriff, had massive mismanagement in his office and caused fear among Mexican immigrants living or working in Arizona. During his tenure, there was a continual abuse of power; inmates were mistreated, exposed to dangerous lives and some even lost lives. He was mostly against the Latinos or any other immigrant with colored skin.
Arpaio’s colleagues issued subpoenas to find information about the executives that worked for the newspaper. Larkin and Lacey did not surrender themselves as would be expected but instead wrote about it in the papers. This rebellion led to their arrest which lasted for less than 24 hours. The voice of the people was heard on time, they were released, and their charges dropped. The Court of Appeal, in 2012, termed it as an assault on the First Amendment, for public officials to have their critics arrested.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals declared that Larkin and Lacey were arrested for no cause; the grand jury subpoenas were invalid because the prosecutor had not followed legal procedure. The court’s decision had the two journalists paid an amount of $3.7 million as a settlement by the sheriff’s county in 2013. They devoted this money to Fontera Fund. It was established to benefit non-profit individuals, groups or families that have suffered from racism in Arizona.
Immigrants’ civil rights had been compromised in Arizona. Larkin grew up knowing that helping the needy is a noble cause. To him, the Hispanic community deserves to have their civil rights. Lacey, on the other hand, had witnessed Arpaio’s brutality against migrants from Mexico, including Americans that had brown skin. That is why they chose to stand with migrants who had suffered in the same way as they did or even worse.