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The CDC was created in the late 1980¹s by the Catholic Diocese of Las Cruces to address immigration and farmworker issues. The Farmworker Organizing Project was a direct result of the aftermath of the sweeping immigration reform under the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986, which led to work in colonias, as that is where farmworkers tended to live. (Colonias are unincorporated settlements along the U.S.-Mexican border that lack basic infrastructure, such as potable water, adequate housing, central wastewater systems, and/or paved roads. CDC emerged to provide advocacy, community organizing, and capacity support for colonia residents in southern New Mexico.) In addition to infrastructure, the need for education, workforce development, and immigration services continued to prevail in rural, colonia communities.
Throughout its 30-year trajectory, the CDC has developed programs and services that address the needs of these rural, colonia and immigrant residents of southern New Mexico. CDC works from the premise that individuals know their own circumstances best, have the ability to transform their daily lives, the lives of their families, and their communities, and will engage in improving their education while taking advantage of opportunities to develop leadership skills.
The CDC has created two programs, the Chaparral Family Development Center (CFDC) and the Integrated Services for Immigrant Families (ISIF), reflecting its commitment to engage communities in social enterprises that promote social, economic, and community development. These two programs provide much needed employment in an economically depressed region, opportunities for professional and leadership development, and provide much needed services for hundreds of families.
The mission of the Colonias Development Council is to improve the quality of life through the promotion, development, and cultivation of an equitable standard of living in colonia communities in southern New Mexico by creating the spaces for transformative leadership through community and economic development.
CDC’s vision is of a healthy, hopeful, and transformative future for immigrant families in southern New Mexico. The CDC’s work seeks to make this vision a reality by addressing community and economic development through professional development, education, and services that enhance the economic and social quality of life, social equity, and promote the recognition of civil and human rights.