During the mid-1990's, the Latino population began to increase dramatically in the metro Birmingham area. Isabel Rubio, then a social worker at UAB, and Lisa Theus, an employee at the Jefferson County Department of Health, took note of this influx and posed the question: Who, if anyone, was working with immigrant Latinos to make sure they were supported in transitioning to life in an unfamiliar society? As a result of the conversations that followed ¡HICA! was created in 1999 to address concerns relating to access to healthcare, education, economic development, legal issues and community outreach for immigrant Latinos.
1999-- ¡HICA! is founded as a non-profit 501 (c)3 organization.
2002-- First publication of ¡HICA!’s Bienvenidos a Birmingham resource guide. 10,000 copies are distributed.
2003-- ¡HICA! begins work on advocacy issues facing immigrant Latinos, becomes first Alabama affiliate of the National Council of La Raza, the nation’s largest Latino civil rights organization.
2003-- First annual Christmas Tamale Sale fundraiser
2005-- ¡HICA! provides services to victims of domestic violence with funding from ADECA through United Way and YWCA.
2006-- ¡HICA! becomes full Agency Partner with United Way of Central Alabama.
2006-- 8,000 tamales sold through Christmas Tamale Sale
2007-- ¡HICA! serves over 8,500 Latino immigrants.
2008-- Isabel Rubio receives FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award.
2009-- ¡HICA! hires a full-time immigration attorney
2010-- ¡HICA! participates in a solidarity rally after Arizona's SB 1070 anti-immigration law is passed, and the City of Birmingham issues an official Welcoming Proclamation.
2011-- HB 56, Alabama’s immigration law dubbed the “toughest in the nation” is passed. ¡HICA! leads opposition, files lawsuit and increases community engagement efforts.
2012-- ¡HICA! provides over 40,000 services to more than 11,000 individuals, and sells over 13,000 tamales.
2013-- ¡HICA! settles court case against HB 56, permanently blocking its most harmful provisions.
2014-- ¡HICA! moves into new location on South Crest Drive