For 31 years the American Immigration Council (AIC) has been advocating for undocumented immigrants in the United States. It is based in Washington D.C. and was established as a nonprofit organization in 1987.
Its original name was the American Immigration Law Foundation. It was founded by the venerable American immigration Lawyers Association.
The AIC uses the legal system to help undocumented immigrants – but a big part of its mission is also to help shape the public perception of immigrant groups. Too often, undocumented immigrants are singled out and demonized by xenophobic elements of American society. The fact is, however, that undocumented immigrants provide significant benefits to our American economy and culture. Read more: Jim Larkin | Twitter and Michael Lacey | LinkedIn
The AIC has support from the Larkin and Lacey Frontera Fund, another nonprofit organization established by two former Arizona media men, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin. The Larkin and Lacey Fund contributes financially to the efforts and mission of the AIC. Learn more about Lacey and Larkin: https://michael-lacey.com/ and https://about.me/michael-lacey
There is a certain wonderful irony in the fact that the AIC receives financial assistance from the Larkin and Lacey Frontera Fund. That’s because this organization was created using money from a lawsuit won against one of America’s most notorious anti-immigrant lawmen – the former sheriff of Arizona’s Maricopa County, Joe Arpaio.
It was in 2007 that Sheriff Arpaio ordered the arrests of both Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey after one of their alternative newspapers, the Phoenix New Times, published an article that was objectionable to the sheriff.
Larkin and Lacey were dragged from their home under the cover of darkness by plainclothes thugs and thrown unceremoniously into jail.
The public outcry was immediate over this unabashed violation of the 1st Amendment right of free speech and press. For years, Sheriff Arpaio had been getting away with running roughshod of the very legal system he was sworn to uphold – but this time he went too far.
Larkin and Lacey were released within 24 hours, but the damage had been done. The men sued and were eventually awarded $3.7 million by a U.S. Court of Appeals.
That money was used by Larkin and Lacey to create the Frontera Fund – and now that money is supporting the very people Sheriff Arpaio once persecuted – undocumented immigrants.
The American Immigration Council is a prime example of the kind of organization that The Larkin and Lacey Frontera Fund is keen to support. The benefit to immigrants provided by the AIC over the past three decades is incalculable. Read more: Jim Larkin | Twitter and Michael Lacey | Twitter
For example, immigrants who want to stay in the U.S. and achieve citizenship need a lot of legal help. The AIC provides it free to thousands of undocumented immigrants.
It also helps them if they are unfairly detained, incarcerated or even abused physically – something that was commonplace under the Gestapo-like tactics of Sheriff Arpaio.
Another great initiative of the AIC is its internship program conducted in partnership with the Embassy of Mexico and the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington, D.C. This program facilitates an exchange visitor program for internships ranging from 3 weeks to 12 months between Mexico and America.