Patti Grogan
Fax: 850-413-9355

General Information

  • Refugee Services is 100% federally funded.
  • Largest refugee population in the nation - Based on state data, over the last 5 federal fiscal years (FFY2011-2015) 166,960 eligible refugees, entrants, asylees, parolees, and Certified Victims of Human Trafficking arrived to Florida. During the FFY 2015 a total of 48,816 arrived. This includes federal Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) adjustments due to secondary migration from other states to Florida and from Florida to other states.
  • Resettlement of refugees is governed by federal law - Refugee Act of 1980, Refugee Education Assistance Act of 1980, Regulated at 45 Code of Federal Regulations Part 400 and 401, 409.953, F.S. Admission to the U.S. of other categories of persons eligible for Refugee Services is also governed by Federal laws and policies.

Eligible Clients:

Eligibility for programs of Refugee Services is determined by federal law and includes the following:

  • Refugees are individuals who have been forced to flee their home country due to persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution. Refugees are granted status before they arrive in the United States.
  • Advance Parolees is a term used to describe Cuban nationals who are granted advance permission to enter the United States through the parole authority of the Department of Homeland Security as agreed in the U.S. - Cuba Accords.
  • Cuban/Haitian Entrants is a term used to describe Cuban and Haitian nationals who enter the United States and are granted a parole upon entry, apply for asylum, or are in removal proceedings.
  • Asylees are persons already in the United States who, due to persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution in their home country, apply for and are granted asylum by asylum officers or immigration judges in the United States.
  • Afghan and Iraqi Special Immigrants (SIV) are Iraqi and Afghani nationals who worked with the U.S. military and who were granted special immigrant status.
  • Certified Victims of Human Trafficking (VOT) are individuals from foreign countries who, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion, have been forced to perform a commercial sex act, or have been subjected to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.

Florida's Refugee Arrival Population

Cuba is the country of origin of most refugee clients in Florida; however, Florida’s refugees come from 57 different home countries, including Haiti, Burma, Iraq, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan, Syria and Sudan.  Refugees resettle primarily in Miami-Dade County with significant populations in Hillsborough, Broward, Duval, Palm Beach, Orange, Pinellas, Lee and Collier Counties.

Florida's Arrival Population over Five Years

The following chart reflects clients entering Florida each federal fiscal year.  The Department’s website also includes data for the Refugee Services Program on additional clients accessing services tracked by their date of entry into the U.S.

Year Refugees Advance
Asylees SIV VOT Total
2011 3,332 7,776 14,736 1,329 21 10 27,204
2012 2,653 6,467 18,532 1,038 59 13 28,762
2013 3,884 6,474 18,233 834 32 4 29,461
2014 3,852 4,767 23,307 652 134 5 32,717
2015 2,709 11,682 33,790 464 158 13 48,816
TOTAL 16,430 37,166 108,598 4,317 404 45 166,960

Services to Refugees:

  • Refugee Services currently manages over 45 refugee service provider contracts and funds refugee cash assistance totaling approximately $29,607,836 (SFY 2014-15 operating budget) in federal aid to eligible clients.  Refugee Services programs are provided through contracts with local governments and community based organizations in communities where large refugee populations are located.
  • Refugee Services provided an estimated 83,363 unduplicated clients more than 205,000 services (employment, adult education, immigration related, etc.) and benefits (Refugee Medical and Cash Assistance, health screening and follow ups) in FFY 2015, including English language classes to 15,894 clients, vocational training to 1,554, and child care to 1,103 clients.  Refugee Services helped 11,922 refugee clients obtain unsubsidized employment, with 61% retaining jobs for at least 90 days in FFY 2015.

Services Include

  • Employment
  • Integration Assistance
  • Adult and Vocational Education including English language
  • Health
  • Employability/Legal
  • Youth
  • Child Care
  • Unaccompanied Refugee Minors
  • Interpreter and Translation
  • Comprehensive Refugee Services