1983

CARECEN (formerly known as the Central American Refugee Center) is founded by Salvadoran refugees

History

The Central American Resource Center, a nonprofit organization, was founded in 1983 by Salvadoran refugees determined to secure legal status for the thousands of Central Americans fleeing civil war.

In its more than 30 years of existence, CARECEN has gone from a small grassroots group to the largest Central American organization in the country, providing low-cost immigration legal services, policy advocacy in immigration, education reform and workers' rights, and organizing know-how for parents, youth and workers.

Its clients also changed, from refugees fleeing war to vibrant immigrant families and workers sinking roots in the United States.
In 2004, CARECEN founded its Day Labor Center, a safe space where day laborers could get training, seek services referrals and improve their standing.

Non-profit immigration legal services are scarce in the San Fernando Valley, so when it opened a branch office there in March 2015, CARECEN took another step to help better serve the region's immigrants.