The origins of IACO go back to 1994 when the “Immigration and Citizenship Program” was established as a division of the Hispanic Information Center of Passaic (HIC); and to 1997, when to counter the negative impact caused by the immigration reform, the estate of New Jersey helped financially to expand the “Immigration and Citizenship Program” in what was called “Citizenship Project of the Hispanic Directors Association of New Jersey”. Seven organizations participated in this project.
In 1999, when the Citizenship project finished and taken advantage of the experience of its coordinators, IACO was established as a non-profit organization to guarantee the continuity of these services to the community. Since its foundation, IACO has helped more than 18,000 families of different nationalities in 200 cities of the tri-state area.
IACO is constituted under the criteria and requirements of 501 (c) (3) organizations and it is exempted from federal income tax under section 501 (a).
In 2006, IACO was recognized by the Board of Immigration Appeals to represent low- income families before the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, USCIS. In New Jersey, only 38 organizations have that recognition.
But the role of IACO has not been limited to offer legal immigration advice to its customers; during the last decade, IACO has lead seminars, conferences and different activities across the state of New Jersey to educate the community in general about immigration, and promoting primarily the integration of the immigrants into the society.
In October 2009, IACO celebrated, for first time in New Jersey, the Immigrants Integration Day. During this day, IACO was able to bring together and communicate: government representatives, federal and state officials, non-profit organization representatives, community leaders and the immigrants to discuss their views about the best way of promoting the integration of immigrants into society.
As an organization, IACO is frequently consulted by the mass media and invited by different organizations to provide advice to parents, educator, students and the community in general about perspectives on immigration.
Actually, IACO counts with 18.000 members and four programs: The Immigration and Citizenship Program, the Professional Assistance Program, the Education and Training Program and the Immigrants Integration Program.