NAU Offering Illegal Immigrant Scholarships Through Leftist Dark Money Program

NAU Offering Illegal Immigrant Scholarships Through Leftist Dark Money Program

By Corinne Murdock |

Northern Arizona University (NAU) will offer illegal immigrant scholarships for the 2023-2024 academic year — even if they’re eligible for deportation. NAU partnered with TheDream.US, a scholarship program fund operated by the New Venture Fund: one nonprofit arm of the leading leftist dark money networks, Arabella Advisors.

The scholarships aren’t exclusively earmarked for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients. Any illegal immigrant that came to the U.S. before the age of 16 and before 2017 may apply for these scholarships.

In a statement, NAU President José Luis Cruz Rivera said that the scholarships aligned with their university’s goal to make higher education accessible to all students. Rivera credited the passage of Proposition 308 for affirming this move.

“Through this partnership, NAU will further the will of the people of Arizona as expressed in the passage of Proposition 308, which affords Arizona Dreamers with in-state tuition and provides an invaluable pathway to upward economic mobility and social impact,” said Rivera.

Arizona State University (ASU), Benedictine University, and Grand Canyon University (GCU) also partner with TheDream.US. 

Prop 308 awards in-state college tuition to Dreamers; voters approved the measure narrowly, 51 to 49 percent. The proposition was backed by at least $1.2 million of out-of-state dark money networks.

TheDream.US reports that at least 1.3 million illegal immigrant youth are eligible for DACA. Of the approximately 98,000 who graduate from high school each year, the program estimated that only five to 10 percent (65,000 to 130,000) enroll in college on average. 

Per AZ Free News past reporting, New Venture Fund (NVF) has initiatives outside of immigration reform advocacy. NVF launched the Fair Elections Center, which is behind the progressive elections reform activist project, Campus Vote Project (CVP). 

In October, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, now governor-elect, selected CVP Vice Chair Anusha Natarajan for the 2022 John Lewis Youth Leadership Award: a Barretts Honors College student, Andrew Goodman Fellow, and digital producer for the student newspaper at Arizona State University (ASU).

In 2020, Oscar Hernandez Ortiz — a DACA and TheDream.US scholarship recipient, strategist with the Arizona Bar Foundation, former fifth-grade teacher, Greater Phoenix Economic Council member, ASU graduate, former state legislature policy intern, and Arizona Department of Education Latinx Advisory Council member — wrote an Arizona Republic op-ed attacking the Trump administration’s efforts to end DACA. While at ASU, Ortiz founded the Undocumented Students for Education Equity, a resource hub for illegal immigrants. 

NAU isn’t the only partner school for TheDream.US. The program lists over 80 “Partner Colleges.” 

TheDream.US offers two scholarship types: the National Scholarship, which the program suggests for Arizona applicants, offers up to $16,500 for an associate degree and $33,000 for a bachelor’s degree; and the Opportunity Scholarship, which offers up to $80,000 for a bachelor’s degree to illegal immigrant students located in states without access to college because they either must pay out-of-state tuition or can’t gain admission to state universities. Applications close Feb. 28.

(Note: TheDream.US removed award amounts from its National Scholarship page earlier this year).

TheDream.US founders are: Don Graham, chairman of Graham Holdings Company (formerly The Washington Post), former director of Facebook, and former member of the Pulitzer Prize Board; Carlos Guitierrez, chairman and CEO of Empath, former chairman and CEO of Kellogg’s, and former Secretary of Commerce for the Bush administration; and Henry R. Muñoz III, former finance chairman for the Democratic National Committee.

Among senior staff at TheDream.US: its president Candy Marshall, the former chief human resources officer for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; director Maria Gabriela Pacheco, who immigrated illegally to the U.S. as a child; communications manager Sadhana Singh, a recipient of DACA and a TheDream.US scholarship; program manager Melanny Buitron, a DACA recipient; data manager, and Camila Salkhov, a Dreamer.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to

Judge Denies $696K Sanctions Against Kari Lake; Election Claims ‘Not Groundless’

Judge Denies $696K Sanctions Against Kari Lake; Election Claims ‘Not Groundless’

By Corinne Murdock |

The Maricopa County Superior Court denied most of the $696,000 sanctions requested against Kari Lake. Judge Peter Thompson clarified that Lake’s claims of election misconduct or fraud weren’t groundless or brought in bad faith. 

“There is no doubt that each side believes firmly in its position with great conviction. The fact that Plaintiff failed to meet the burden of clear and convincing evidence required for each element of A.R.S. § 16-672 does not equate to a finding that her claims were, or were not, groundless and presented in bad faith,” wrote Thompson. 

However, Thompson didn’t deny all of the sanctions. He did award Katie Hobbs $5,900 in her capacity as secretary of state for an expert witness, $22,400 in her capacity as governor-elect for another expert witness, and another $4,700 in her capacity as governor-elect for 8 hours’ worth of ballot inspections. The total of over $33,000 comes with an annual interest rate of 7.5 percent. 

Lake’s “War Room” team declared Thompson’s dismissal a win. They reaffirmed that they would appeal his ruling on the case.

Lake’s lawyers petitioned late Monday to have Maricopa County and Secretary of State Katie Hobbs’ collective $696,000 sanctions request dismissed entirely.

In their court filing, Lake’s attorneys said that the county’s sanctions request was a punishment for litigating the election. The attorneys stated that they presented over two hundred witnesses that testified to facts and alleged violations of law, which included specific numbers of allegedly illegal votes exceeding the 17,100 margin between Lake and Hobbs. 

“[T]he issues raised before this Court were of significant concern to millions of Arizona voters as to the causes of chaos that arose on Election Day — and the administration of elections in Maricopa County generally — and Plaintiff’s claims deserved to be brought and heard,” stated Lake’s attorneys. “Trust in the election process is not furthered by punishing those who bring legitimate claims as Plaintiff did here.”

Lake’s attorneys further disputed Maricopa County’s claim that there wasn’t any evidence of intentional misconduct to change the election outcome. They cited the court’s acknowledgement in its ruling that evidence did exist — though Thompson determined that the evidence didn’t appear to affect the election outcome. 

The attorneys also rehashed testimonies from Election Day Director Scott Jarrett and County Recorder Stephen Richer. They claimed that Jarrett walked back his initial denial of knowledge of 19-inch ballots being printed onto 20-inch paper, something that would render them unreadable by tabulators. They also claimed that Richer offered conflicting testimony concerning chain of custody: he at first stated that ballots were processed at the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center (MCTEC) before being counted at Runbeck, then later stated that ballots were counted at MCTEC and documented on chain of custody forms before being transferred to Runbeck for counting again. 

The bulk of the sanctions fees came from the law firms tied to Democrat’s go-to litigator and principal Russiagate player, Marc Elias, who served Hobbs in her capacity as governor-elect. Hobbs requested over $457,000 for Elias’ law firm, Elias Law Group, and over $93,000 for Elias’ former firm, Perkins Coie. The two firms also requested nearly $56,700 for 16 hours of work. The firms noted that these definite fees for less than a day’s work don’t require a detailed review of invoices nor would they be subject to revision. In his denial of these sanctions, Thompson noted that itemization of costs were required pursuant to state law. 

The firms also requested over $22,400 in definite fees for their expert witness, Kenneth Mayer, and nearly $4,700 for 8 hours of ballot inspections.  

Lake claimed in a since-deleted tweet that Elias helped ghostwrite Judge Thompson’s ruling. 

Maricopa County cited this claim as a justification for their sanctions request. In their counter to the sanctions request, Lake’s attorneys declared that her speech was constitutionally protected. 

In her capacity as secretary of state, Hobbs requested nearly $37,000 for the services of Coppersmith Brockelman, a go-to law firm for Democrats whose partner, Roopali Desai, was appointed earlier this year to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. 

Maricopa County requested an incomplete portion to cover attorney’s fees: just over $25,000. Over $18,700 would go to the county attorney’s office, and just over $6,300 would go to outside counsel with the Burgess Law Group. The remainder of the fees are pending. The county noted that only their clerical workers could export time from their time-keeping systems into a spreadsheet, and that they weren’t willing to require their support staff to work on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

The Maricopa County Superior Court dismissed Lake’s lawsuit on Christmas Eve. Judge Thompson asserted that Lake’s team didn’t provide clear and convincing evidence of election misconduct or fraud. Lake promptly announced that she would appeal the ruling.

In their sanctions request, Maricopa County declared that Lake engaged in “unfounded attacks on elections” and brought forth “unwarranted accusations against elections officials.” 

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to

Arizona Prevails: Supreme Court Orders Border Expulsion Policy Remain In Place

Arizona Prevails: Supreme Court Orders Border Expulsion Policy Remain In Place

By Corinne Murdock |

On Tuesday, Arizona succeeded in its effort to continue Title 42, a Trump-era activation of the policy enabling the rapid expulsion of illegal immigrants.

The Supreme Court (SCOTUS) on Tuesday blocked the D.C. District Court ruling last month ordering the Biden administration to lift Title 42 by Dec. 21. The policy will remain in place pending a hearing before the court on the question of whether states, including Arizona, may intervene to challenge the district court’s order.

Judge Emmet Sullivan, a Bush appointee, asserted that Trump’s initial implementation of Title 42 was unlawful. Although the Biden administration benefitted from the ruling, they appealed on Sullivan’s judgment of Trump’s use of Title 42. 

Attorney General Mark Brnovich, who championed legal efforts to continue Title 42, said in a press release that this decision would ensure Americans’ safety where the Biden administration wouldn’t. Brnovich noted that Title 42 under the Biden and Trump administrations resulted in the expulsion of over 2.4 million immigrants. 

“It’s disappointing [that] the Biden administration is willing to sacrifice the safety of American families for political purposes,” said Brnovich. 


SCOTUS will fast-track the case for oral argument during its February session (Feb. 21 to March 1). Arizona and 18 other states petitioned SCOTUS last Monday to keep Title 42 in place, after the D.C. District Court denied their intervention. 

One conservative-leaning justice, Neil Gorsuch, joined the liberal court’s opposition. Gorsuch wrote in his dissent, joined by Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, that Title 42 should be done away with since the border crisis doesn’t quality as a “COVID crisis.” Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan also opposed the order, but didn’t join in Gorsuch’s dissent. 

“[T]he emergency on which those orders were premised has long since lapsed,” wrote Gorsuch. “[The states] do not seriously dispute that the public-health justification undergirding the Title 42 orders has lapsed.”

Gorsuch rejected Arizona and the other states’ arguments that Title 42 should remain untouched since it was their only means of securing the border. He clarified that he found the states’ concerns about the border crisis valid, but repeated that Title 42 was meant only to curtail communicable diseases, not the other issues stemming from an unsecured border.

“[C]ourts should not be in the business of perpetuating administrative edicts designed for one emergency only because elected officials have failed to address a different emergency. We are a court of law, not policymakers of last resort,” wrote Gorsuch. 


Title 42 of the Public Health Services Act has existed since 1944. The policy enables the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the power to block illegal immigration into the U.S. to protect Americans from contagious diseases. This policy even applies to asylum seekers. Former President Donald Trump utilized the policy at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A federal judge blocked the Biden administration from lifting Title 42 in May. However, requirements to keep the policy in place have curbed the border crisis little, with reports revealing that the Biden administration covertly subverts the policy regardless of court orders and public promises earlier this year. 

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to

November Marks Another Border Record High for Biden Administration

November Marks Another Border Record High for Biden Administration

By Corinne Murdock   |

Under President Joe Biden, November’s border encounters marked another historic high. This also marks the sixth consecutive month of an increase in border encounters. 

There were over 233,700 border encounters, of which over 204,100 (87 percent) were unique. Cuban and Nicaraguan migrants made up the excess: over 68,000 (35 percent) of unique encounters were from the two countries. Mexicans and North Central Americans accounted for over 58,500 (30 percent) of unique encounters, a 14 percent decrease from November 2021. 

The all-time high in one single month under the Biden administration occurred in May with over 241,100 encounters.

That’s a four percent increase from last month.  

Since Biden took office, there have been over 4.36 million border encounters. This excludes “gotaways.” At this rate, there could be over 9.3 million encounters by the end of Biden’s first term. 

Single adults accounted for 67 percent (157,200) of this month’s encounters. This demographic yielded the greatest growth year-over-year under the Biden administration. These latest totals for single adult illegal immigrants is nearly equal to the entirety of single adult encounters for fiscal year 2020. 

Unaccompanied minors accounted for five percent (13,100). Family units accounted for 27 percent (63,100); this total is greater than the entire 2020 fiscal year. 

The Tucson and Yuma Sectors recorded over 3,100 drug seizures for November. That’s a high under the Biden administration, but a low compared to pre-pandemic numbers under the Trump administration. 

It’s likely more record highs are on the horizon. According to Fox News correspondence with Customs and Border Protection (CBP), 87 percent of illegal immigrants encountered over Christmas weekend were released. Of the nearly 16,500 encounters, only about 2,100 were expelled under Title 42. 

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to

Kari Lake Anticipated to Appeal Election Lawsuit, May Face Legal Sanctions

Kari Lake Anticipated to Appeal Election Lawsuit, May Face Legal Sanctions

By Corinne Murdock |

Kari Lake plans to appeal her lawsuit against governor-elect Katie Hobbs in her capacity as secretary of state and Maricopa County.

Maricopa County Superior Court declared in a ruling issued on Christmas Eve that Hobbs was governor-elect because Lake presented no “clear and convincing evidence” of election misconduct or fraud. 

“[Election workers performed] their role with integrity. Not perfectly, as no system on this earth is perfect, but more than sufficient to comply with the law and conduct a valid election,” wrote Thompson. 

On Monday, Maricopa County sought sanctions against Lake and her attorneys, Brian Blehm and Kurt Olsen. The trio could owe up to $696,000 to cover attorneys’ fees and costs incurred by the county and secretary of state’s office. The county asserted that Lake kept up a “sustained attack on Arizona’s elections” long before this recent election, and filed her lawsuit in bad faith. 

The county cited a since-deleted tweet from Lake, which shared a report compiling claims from “legal experts” that Judge Peter Thompson’s ruling was “ghostwritten” by the likes of top Democratic election attorney and principal Russiagate figure Marc Elias and others.

Lake would be far from the first facing sanctions for disputing an election in recent years. There are at least three other parties with outstanding sanctions.


Prominent among Lake’s claims of election malfeasance were missing chain of custody documentation for Election Day ballots in violation of the Election Procedures Manual (EPM) and inducing Ballot On Demand (BOD) printer issues by using 19” instead of 20” ballots. 

Thompson preceded his 10-page court ruling by acknowledging voters’ “anger and frustration” over the “inconvenience and confusion” at vote centers, but issued a reminder that his duty was to weigh Lake’s claims and the actions of Maricopa County and the state against the law. 

“[T]his Court’s duty is not solely to incline an ear to public outcry,” wrote Thompson. 

In order to prevail, Lake needed to prove that alleged misconduct such as EPM violations and BOD irregularities were intentional, conducted by an officer making or participating in a canvass, intended to change the election outcome, and resulted in a change in the election outcome. 

The ruling reviewed the testimonies of Lake’s witnesses: Mark Sonnenklar, a Republican National Committee election attorney; Heather Honey, a supply chain auditor and consultant; Clay Parikh, a Northrup Grumman cybersecurity expert; David Betencourt, a temporary technical election support employee (“T-Tech”) with Maricopa County; and Richard Baris, director of Big Data Poll. 

With the exception of Honey, Thompson determined that these witnesses completely failed to relay personal knowledge of intentional or unintentional election misconduct. Honey testified that Runbeck Election Services employees introduced about 50 ballots of family members into the stream. 

However, Thompson determined that Honey’s claims were insufficient to meet the burden of proof because these ballots weren’t clear and convincing evidence of affecting the election outcome. Thompson noted that Maricopa County in its testimony clarified that it only granted Runbeck permission to submit general public ballots, not those family member ballots.

“Every single witness before the Court disclaimed any personal knowledge of such misconduct. The Court cannot accept speculation or conjecture in place of clear and convincing evidence,” wrote Thompson. 

Thompson declared further that Lake didn’t offer sufficient evidence to contradict the testimonies of Election Day director Scott Jarrett or County Recorder Stephen Richer. 


In response to the ruling, Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chair Bill Gates declared that Lake sought media attention, not a remedy to the election. 

“Plaintiff Lake’s lawsuit was never about well-pled facts and evidence. Instead, it was the continuation of a made-for-TV tirade from a candidate who cannot or will not accept the fact that she lost,” said Gates. “Arizona courts have made it clear that frivolous political theater meant to undermine elections will not be tolerated.”

During a Turning Point USA event earlier this month, Lake pledged to take this case “all the way to the Supreme Court.”

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to