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Central American Refugee Center (CARECEN) 20th Anniversary Newsletter, 2003

CARECEN 20th Anniversary - Central American Refugee Center

CARECEN 20th Anniversary - Central American Refugee Center

Hofstra University Special Collections, HOF_HISLAT_B1F20_91
Document Description
Pamphlet for the Central American Refugee Center (CARECEN), 2003.
What is a refugee? 
Why might the U.S. government offer asylum to these immigrants?
What factors could have drawn these people to the U.S. instead of to other nations?
What difficulties might these people have faced in their home countries that caused them to leave?
How might people feel who are leaving their countries under bad circumstances?
What types of legal services does CARECEN provide?
Are these services limited to people residing in the U.S.?
What does outreach mean in this context?
Why might CARECEN extend services to people in Central America?
What does empower mean?
Why does CARECEN feel it is important to empower immigrants?
Historical Challenges
Research the reasons for the wars that occurred in Central America during the 1980s. What other organizations existed in the past half-century to help ethnic groups with similar social issues?
Interdisciplinary Connections
Art: Design a pamphlet that would be easy to read for a non-English-speaking adult who is seeking the services of this organization.
Spanish/English as a Second Language: Design a pamphlet that would be easy to read for a non-English-speaking adult who is seeking the services of this organization.
English Language Arts: Write a summary of the services provided by this organization that could be printed in a guide offered to new immigrants from any of the Spanish-speaking nations.


Historical Context
The 2000 Census found a total U.S. population of 281.4 million, 31.1 million (or 11.1%) of whom were foreign-born. Individuals from Latin America represented 52% of the foreign-born population (16 million).

Of the 16 million from Latin America, 11.2 million (36%) were from Central America (including Mexico), 3 million (10%) were from the Caribbean, and 1.9 million (6.2%) were from South America. The foreign-born from Mexico accounted for 9.2 million people — 30% of the total U.S. foreign-born population — making Mexico the leading country of origin of the foreign-born.

The Central American Resource Center (CARECEN) was founded in 1983 by a group of Salvadoran refugees whose mission was to secure legal status for the thousands of Central Americans fleeing the torture and brutality of civil war. During the 1980s and 1990s, over 52% of the one-million-plus Salvadorans and 59% of Guatemalans fleeing these atrocities came to Los Angeles.    

The transition for individuals from refugees to permanent U.S. residents challenged CARECEN to expand its capacity to meet the community’s need for social and economic empowerment. CARECEN’s new community center was specifically designed to meet these challenges. In 1998, CARECEN moved into a new 30,000-square-foot, four-story community center in the Pico/Union neighborhood. There, it serves as a hub for educational and cultural enrichment, immigration and legal services, and proactive programs created to foster citizenship and civic participation. The community center and CARECEN’s website are just two of the resources that meet the changing needs of the community.
Essential Question
How does immigration and migration impact a society?
Check for Understanding
Identify the main idea of this brochure and explain the role of CARECEN in the process of immigration.