Mission & History

Our History

The Immigrants’ Assistance Center, Inc. (IAC) was established in 1971 by members of the local Portuguese community right here in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Helping immigrants to overcome language, cultural and economic barriers, was the foundation for the organization of the IAC, which was used to help them integrate into the American way of life.

A search for a center location was conducted and the funds to hire staff were sought through the Emergency Employment Act (EEA). After nearly three years of dreaming and planning, the long-envisioned Immigrants’ Assistance Center, Inc., finally became a reality. With a temporary location at the Onboard’s North End Community Center, a local agency supported by OEO of New Bedford, and with the hiring of two staff members through the EEA, the Center was opened in late August of 1972.

The by-laws state that the purpose of the IAC is to assist, promote, develop and coordinate with organizations and firms to advocate, upgrade and organize in the interests of persons immigrating to the United States, particularly to Southeastern Massachusetts, including:

  • civic
  • educational
  • charitable
  • governmental
  • business
  • medical
  • legal
  • religious

The IAC also provides direct and indirect services to immigrants and non-English speaking persons, including referral to any and all existing public and private agencies, which will assist immigrants to satisfy all of their social, economic and cultural needs. The IAC will also actively solicit financial and other types of assistance for the above purposes and, in general, to improve the quality of life in the immigrant and non-English speaking community, within the exclusively charitable meaning of section 501c (3) of the Internal Revenue Act of 1954.

Today, the IAC serves as the point of access to every type of social service that is publicly available to the Greater New Bedford Area. Our Center helps non-English speakers access information and services for any problem or need. The IAC is a vital link between the non-English speaking community and all of the other public and private human service agencies and providers in the area. We received accreditation by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) in April 2014.


Our Founding Fathers

The men and women who helped to establish the Immigrants’ Assistance Center (IAC) for the Southeastern Massachusetts area include: George Rogers, Celestino D. Macedo, Chris Martin, David A. Medeiros, John C. Sharp, George G. Mendonca, Angelina Coelho, M. Conceicao R.C. Ferreira, Manuel Fernando Neto, Jack Baptista, Mark A. Castro, Abel D. Fidalgo, Luis F. Aguiar, Laurindo Machado, Joao F. Aguiar, Manuel A. Ferreira, Otilia Sylvia, Mary Correia, Beatriz Lopes, Heldo T. Braga, Anibal T. Moniz, Eduardo Sousa Lima, Maria S. Fraga, Maria A. Monteiro, Helena A. DeFraga, Carlos Amaral, Jose M. Furtado, Agnes Braz and Antonio A. Costa