The IRC in Miami, FL
The International Rescue Committee provides opportunities for refugees, asylees, victims of human trafficking, survivors of torture, and other immigrants to thrive in America. Each year, thousands of people, forced to flee violence and persecution, are welcomed by the people of the United States into the safety and freedom of America. These individuals have survived against incredible odds. The IRC works with government bodies, civil society actors, and local volunteers to help them translate their past experiences into assets that are valuable to their new communities. In Miami and other offices across the country, the IRC helps them to rebuild their lives.
Who are refugees?
Refugees are people fleeing violence and persecution—in Cuba, Colombia, DR Congo and other countries in crisis. They are seeking safety and the chance to move their lives forward.
Why are refugees arriving in Miami?
The United States has a long tradition of sheltering those fleeing conflict and persecution. Once refugees have been identified by the United Nations refugee agency and cleared for resettlement, the U.S. government works with the IRC and eight other national resettlement agencies to help them restart their lives in America. Out of the nearly 20 million refugees in the world, fewer than 1 percent are considered for resettlement worldwide.
Refugees may be placed in a city where they have relatives or friends, or where there’s an established community that shares their language or culture. Other considerations include the cost of living and a community’s ability to provide medical services. However, as legal U.S. residents, refugees may live in any city and state they choose.
How does the IRC help refugees in Miami?
Our programs are designed to ensure refugees thrive in America--whether ensuring children are enrolled in school, adults become self-reliant through employment or starting businesses, or families receive acute medical care they need to recover from trauma or illness. The IRC helps those in need to rebuild their lives and regain control of their future in their new home community.
Refugees are greeted and welcomed at the airport by IRC case workers and volunteers to ensure their transition is as comfortable as possible. The IRC also makes sure newly arrived refugees receive:
- A furnished home
- Help with rent
- Health care
- Nutritious, affordable food
- English language classes
- Help building job, computer, and financial literacy skills
- Education for their children
- Social services and community support
- Legal services towards residency and citizenship
Our programs in Miami:
- Resettlement: Meeting the basic needs for food, shelter and legal rights in the early, critical stages of resettlement.
- Economic Empowerment: Protecting, supporting and improving household livelihoods and financial security.
- Community Integration and Development: Strengthening communities and preparing individuals to participate fully in American society.
- Anti-Human Trafficking Initiative: The IRC provides a rapid-response, comprehensive support system for trafficked persons in South Florida. Services include case management, safe and appropriate housing, legal services, medical care, and clinical intervention.
What services does the IRC provide to the wider community?
The IRC in Miami offers citizenship and civics classes free of charge to qualifying legal permanent US residents. Through our matching grant program, we provide economic empowerment service such as job placement, job readiness training and other services for asylees as well as Cuban and Haitian Parolees. We also provide intensive case management for refugees, asylees, victims of human trafficking and Cuban/Haitian parolees with the first five years of arrival to the US.
How can I help refugees in Miami?
There are many ways that you can get involved with the IRC’s work in Miami. You can:
Donate: Give a tax-deductible financial contribution either via the website or sent to our office.
Volunteer Process and Opportunities: Read the steps you need to go through to become an IRC volunteer and see our current list of volunteer opportunities here.
Internship Opportunities: See our current list of internship opportunities here.
New or Gently Used Items Needed for Those Served by the IRC: We’re collecting kitchenware, household items, electronics and cars, for newly arrived refugees and former victims of human trafficking. See how you can help.
Spread the Word: Consider hosting your own Fundraising Campaign (on- or offline). Stay connected via our newsletter, follow us on Facebook, and ask others to do the same!
Other Ways to Get Involved: Employ refugees, connect us to affordable housing options.
What do refugees contribute to Miami?
Once they acclimate to their new environment, refugees often thrive and contribute to their communities, building careers, purchasing homes, gaining citizenship.
Raising awareness of the National Human Trafficking Hotline
On August 20, the Federal South Florida Human Trafficking Task Force hosted an event to raise public awareness of the National Human Trafficking Hotline (1-888-373-7888). The Task Force—led by the International Rescue Committee (IRC), the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Homeland Security Investigations and Miami-Dade Police Department—has participated in more than 100 human trafficking community outreach events in 2019.
IRC Florida staff meet with Congress in DC
In May the IRC in Florida’s Deputy Director, Regina Bernadin, and Tallahassee Site Manager, Una Bilic, joined refugee leaders and advocates from across the country for a special two-day advocacy event in Washington, DC.
A Message from Executive Director, Suzy Cop
Statement from the IRC of Miami's Executive Director, Suzy Cop, on the President's Determination on Refugees
For more than fifty years, we have helped people from around the globe re-establish their lives here in South Florida. However, we couldn’t do it without the support from our local community. Through funding, pro-bono work, and volunteering, South Florida has ensured that thousands of refugees now have a place to call home.Suzy CopSuzy Cop is director of the IRC's Miami office.
children and parents seeking asylum in the U.S.
Extreme poverty and rampant violence in Central America have fueled a humanitarian crisis.See how we help asylum seekers
refugees and SIV recipients to resettle in the U.S.
The IRC helps refugees fleeing war and persecution to rebuild their lives in 25 U.S. cities.Learn about refugees in America
people with economic empowerment programs.
Our support includes financial coaching, vocational training and asset building.See our work in economic wellbeing