CARECEN Refugee Project


CARECEN was envisioned and founded by Central American refugees. During the 1980’s CARECEN took a lead role in advocating for and defending the rights of Central American refugees fleeing armed conflicts in their home countries.  For decades, forced migration from the region has continued to surge. In response to the present humanitarian crisis at the border and the phenomenon of caravans traveling North from the region—CARECEN’s Refugee Project has been on the ground providing humanitarian aid, accompaniment, support services and advocacy to the thousands of Central American refugees coming to the United States.

Humanitarian Aid at the Border “Proyecto Dignidad”

CARECEN collaborates with family, youth and LGBTQ shelters in Tijuana to provide humanitarian relief services. In partnership with St. Johns Well Child we provide medical screenings at the various shelters, medication, food and donations as needed.

CARECEN legal staff also provides legal education to asylum seekers at the border, monitoring the human rights violations committed by Customs and Border Protection and Immigration Officials. Through our work, we have been a part of a number of lawsuits challenging Trump’s illegal and inhumane changes in asylum law.

Interested in Volunteering at the Border?

Join our Volunteer Orientation Sessions with Al Otro Lado every first Monday of the Month 7-9pm at CARECEN, 2845 W. 7th St. Los Angeles, CA 90005


Money donated will be redistributed to partner shelters in Tijuana and to purchase medicine and food.

Foreign Policy and the Root Causes of Forced Migration

The United States suffers a historical amnesia when it comes to foreign policy in Central America. As Central American families and unaccompanied migrant children continue to arrive at the U.S border, we conveniently forget the role our government has played in contributing to forced migration from the region. Throughout the years U.S. political interventions, military aid and failed economic policies have destabilized the Northern Triangle (El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras). In Central America, destabilization is not a policy catchphrase, it means violence, unemployment, displacement and has directly led to increasing numbers of asylum seekers for the past decades.

CARECEN has been engaging in advocacy around the Berta Caceres Human Rights in Honduras Act (H.R. 1945) which calls on the United States congress to suspend funding to Honduran security and military forces until the Honduran Government investigates and prosecutes those who have carried out human rights violations.

Support Services for Asylum Seekers

CARECEN Refugee Project Organizer’s work directly with asylum seekers who are detained in ICE prisons or have recently arrived to the United States, support services include:

  • Refugee Closet: Through our refugee closet we provide individuals who have been released from detention access to essential items needed including clothes and hygiene products
  • Asylum 101 Legal Clinics: In partnership with legal service and social services provides across Los Angeles, CARECEN hosts legal clinics for individuals going through asylum proceedings that include know your rights information as well as legal consultations with pro-bono attorneys.
  • Deportation Defense Unit (DDU): CARECEN’s DDU provides high-quality pro-bono legal representation to asylum seekers, unaccompanied minors and individuals in removal proceedings. 

For more information  or if you are in need of support services please contact Jenny Villegas at or Xochitl Sanchez at