WELCOMING SYRIAN, AFGAN & OTHER REFUGEES TO FLORIDA
As the world emerges from the pandemic and the end of US presence in Afghanistan, GLOBAL TIES MIAMI along with our friends/partners at the World Affairs Council of Miami, Refugee Assistance Alliance, and International Rescue Committee hosted a virtual event to learn about the journey of refugees from their homes to Florida and how we can support them.
Nancy Jackson, former United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) official explains, “When we look at the numbers and the countries in which the people come from it becomes very apparent why people become refugees. Unfortunately, war is the number one reason. A refugee is a person who is leaving their home country for fear of persecution because of race, ethnicity, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or a political opinion. When there is great upheaval and the state is no longer providing protection to refugees, in fact, they may be persecuting their own countrymen and women, people may have no choice and feel obliged to leave. There are over 20 million refugees under the mandate of the UNHCR, 68 percent of those come from five countries: Syria, Venezuela, Afghanistan, South Sudan and Myanmar.”
David Oliver, Deputy Director of the IRC in Florida, shared, “In the fiscal year of 2019, refugees paid nearly $750 million in taxes. In Florida, refugees spending power is $2.4 billion. Studies have shown that refugees and immigrants, specifically refugees are entrepreneurial.” In addition to the rich cultural and social contributions to South Florida, refugees demonstrate self-sufficiency and economic contributions.
90% of refugees are self-sufficient within 6 months.
9127 entrepreneurs who arrived in Florida as refugees demonstrate economic contributions.
Kristen Bloom, founder of the Refugee Assistance Alliance heralds the uniqueness of our city, “Miami has so many resources. It is a city where more than half of the population was born elsewhere. Most of our volunteers and residents know what it is like to start over.” As more refugees resettle in the U.S., we will continue to help them integrate and thrive in their new homes. Non-profit organizations, corporations, local governments, and individuals are encouraged to participate however they can.