In 2014, a surge of unaccompanied minor children from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico began arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border and turning themselves in to immigration officials. They were fleeing rampant violence from organized crime and drug gangs, and the governments of their countries could not protect them. Many had seen family members, even parents, attacked and killed, and they were now on their own. Others had suffered abandonment, neglect, or abuse at the hands of their caregivers and could not survive alone in an environment wracked by violence and instability.   Continue reading


After years of struggle by parents in the Pico-Union area, CARECEN helped form a grass-roots coalition that pushed for new schools to ease student crowding. Belmont High School had been built in 1923 and enrolled more than 6,000 students. Most, about 5,000, were bussed in from outside the neighborhood. Building and opening the Roybal Learning Center made room for these students that had squeezed into classes at Belmont. Continue reading


CARECEN was central to the largest mobilization ever in the city of LA. More than 1 million people mobilized against HR 4437, the Sensenbrenner bill,  which criminalized undocumented immigrants.  


CARECEN led the response to the earthquake in El Salvador and called on the U.S. Government to provide TPS for the Salvadorans who were living in the US at the time of the earthquake.


CARECEN raised over $100,000 of material aid for the victims of Hurricane Mitch and called for TPS to be granted to those affected by the hurricane.


CARECEN was part of a national alliance that won the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA). NACARA gives beneficiaries the opportunity to apply for a green card and citizenship.   


CARECEN was one of the key organizations who mobilized to win back rights lost under the Illegal Immigration and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRAIRA) signed by President Clinton. CARECEN purchased a 30,000 sq. feet building, its present home, in Pico-Union making it the largest Central American Community Center in the United States and kicked off a three million dollar Capital Campaign for the renovation of the building.   Continue reading


CARECEN was one of the key organizations that mobilized against Proposition 187, a ballot initiative that among other things, prohibited undocumented individuals from using health care, public education and other services in the State of California


CARECEN organized events to celebrate the signing of the peace accords that ended the twelve year civil war in El Salvador. CARECEN also played a key role in rebuilding Pico-Union after the riots in response to a jury acquittal of four LAPD officers of beating Rodney King.  


CARECEN assisted thousands of Salvadorans and Guatemalans who fled as refugees during the civil wars and qualified for Temporary Protected Status (TPS).


Only two years after CARECEN was founded, it played a key role in the class action law suit known as the American Baptist Church (ABC) settlement which resulted in the first Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Salvadorans and Guatemalans.


CARECEN and the Central American Refugee Committee (CRECEN) go on a 15-day hunger strike at La Placita Olvera Church to denounce deportations of Salvadoran refugees by the Reagan Administration and to denounce the human rights abuses by the government of El Salvador.


The Central American Resource Center (CARECEN), then called the Central American Refugee Center, was founded by Salvadoran refugees who were fleeing persecution by the military during the civil war.  CARECEN was founded to secure political asylum for the refugees fleeing persecution, to defend their human rights and to offer immigration and basic social services needed by the refugees who were arriving in large numbers to Los Angeles. CARECEN received its 501 (c) (3) non-profit status.