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The IRC in Florida meets with Congressional leaders

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The IRC in Florida’s staff is in conversations with Congressional leaders to discuss the IRC’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Presidential Determination for the admission of refugees in the United States.

Photo: Alex Brandon/AP

This August, IRC staff and clients worked together to prepare in advance for online meetings with congressional leaders, with the goal of urging lawmakers to include critical support to refugee and immigrant communities in appropriations for any upcoming COVID-19 related supplemental package. Refugees and other immigrant groups in the U.S. share the same pandemic-related challenges as those of us who were born here, but as newcomers, they often face additional vulnerabilities. Excluding refugees and other immigrant communities leaves all communities at greater risk and prevents our state from mitigating the spread of new COVID-19 cases and reopening economies. 

Communities across Florida come together to provide support to refugees, survivors of human trafficking and other vulnerable populations

The Presidential Determination for the number of refugees who will be resettled to the United States for the current fiscal year is set to just 18,000—a historic low. The U.S. is not on track to meet even this low admissions number due to the global pandemic travel restrictions; COVID-19 has further exacerbated the situations of millions of refugees around the world as global resettlement needs continue to go unmet. The UN Refugee Agency projects that in 2021 there will be 1.45 million people in need of resettlement. In addition, with resettlement needs in the Americas projected to increase by nearly 500% in 2021 and Venezuelan refugees accounting for 72% of those needs, the U.S. should ensure its admissions allocations reflect the humanitarian crisis at its doorstep. 

Who is left behind when the U.S. resettles fewer refugees?

We urge congressional leaders and the Trump administration to increase refugee admissions in the upcoming year. The Presidential Determination for 2021 should be no less than 95,000 refugees in line with historic norms and global needs. The administration should return to a system of needs-based admissions as a reflection of the U.S. commitment to providing safe haven to the world’s most vulnerable refugees. We also encourage all of our supporters to reach out to their representatives in Congress and express your support for legislation that would allow the U.S. to receive at least 95,000 refugees annually. 

So far, the IRC in Florida’s staff has met with the offices of Senator Marco Rubio and Congresswoman Lois Frankel, and had productive and engaging conversations about how to keep Florida a welcoming state, our response during the pandemic, and future resources that may become available to our clients. 

To learn more about the work of the IRC in Florida and for information on how you can get involved with the IRC as a donor or volunteer, please contact Development Manager, JC Torres, at Juan.Torres [at] Rescue.org or 786-325-6257. 

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