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The Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama (HICA!), the brain-child of Executive Director, Isabel Rubio, opened its doors in 1999. Ms. Rubio, a long time Birmingham resident, recognized the need for an immigrant-integration focused organization in the state of Alabama, and she has worked hard to ensure that immigrant integration is the cornerstone of their mission and the primary goal of all of their services.

The Midwest has a history as a gateway for immigrants even if not as heralded as port cities in the east and west.  Think of Chicago with its diverse ethnic population as early as the late 1800’s, especially among Eastern Europeans, that continues today with the largest Bosnian refugee population in the country.  Think also of Detroit, Motor City, at the turn of the last century when Ford Motor Company attracted immigrant workers from Southern Europe and the Middle East to build the earliest automobiles.  Detroit now has the largest Middle Eastern population in the United States, most rece

Brooklyn is one of the nation’s most vibrant metropolitan areas with a dense and multi-ethnic population.  Its immigrant history is storied as in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, an American literary classic. With a large foreign-born population there is a growing need for affordable immigration legal services specifically for people with low-incomes. For that reason, CLINIC, other nonprofit organizations, and immigrant advocates joined to start such a program in Brooklyn.

My recent visit to Catholic Charities Fort Worth, Texas, illuminated just how ready this program is for comprehensive immigration reform. With a bit of innovation, some grant funding, and overall agency support, the program manager of Immigration Consultation Services (ICS), Xergio Chacin, is busy trying out new ideas, stocking his program with the proper equipment and tools, and practicing larger-scale models of group processing in order to be prepared for significant immigration law changes.