Immigration & Domestic Violence

Immigration & Domestic Violence Frequently Asked Questions
If you have questions or concerns about the contents of this page, please call the Special Projects Coordinator at (850)425-2749.

General Immigration Information

If you are a Refugee or Asylee or if you are an advocate for someone who is, please note that refugees and asylees may adjust status on their own regardless of whether their spouse/sponsor cooperates with the BCIS. This means that a refugee's sponsor/spouse may not withdraw his/her sponsorship for the refugee's immigration and that the refugee/asylee may adjust status when they become eligible whether their spouse/sponsor adjusts status or not. Refugees are also eligible for public benefits and refugee services.

Refugees are admitted each year subject to an established numerical limit, generally in the range of 80,000 to 90,000 individuals. Refugees are identified internationally by the United Nation High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) and processed for admission by the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS) (formerly INS). Once approved to travel, the U.S. State Department contracts with voluntary agencies to arrange their travel and initial resettlement. The voluntary agencies work through local affiliates to resettle refugee clients. Cuban and Haitian Entrants, as defined in the Refugee Education Assistance Act of 1980, are also eligible for refugee services.

State, local and private agencies have developed linkages to provide federally funded services to refugees/entrants and specific classes of legal aliens. Governor Graham, by Executive Order, established the Secretary of HRS (now known as the Department of Children of Families) as the Florida State Refugee Coordinator. The Florida State Refugee Coordinator's main purpose is administrative and operational coordination of federally funded refugee and immigration-related services, federal immigration policy, and efforts to obtain and maintain federal funding. The function of Florida Refugee Services is to provide assistance to refugees of all nationalities and Cuban and Haitian entrants.

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