Community Knowledge and at Titudes Toward Refugees and Asylees in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties: An Analys is for the International Rescue Committee

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Abstract

This paper presents the findings of a research project on knowledge and attitudes about refugees and “asylees” in two South Florida counties. The project was a collaboration between the International Rescue Committee (IRC), an international NGO that assists refugees and asylees with resettlement in the United States and other countries, and four graduate students in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Florida International University in Miami. South Florida receives large numbers of refugees and asylees, principally from Latin America and the Caribbean, and the IRC was interested in finding out more about the knowledge and attitudes in the community about refugees and asylees for the purpose of planning a possible public education campaign and fund-raising efforts. A survey was administered to 280 people in Broward and Miami-Dade Counties. Analysis of the findings shows that the community does not have a clear understanding of the differences between refugees, asylees, and immigrants. The respondents did not have an understanding of refugees and asylees as people who have fled political or religious persecution in their countries of origin, with the exception of refugees from Cuba. However, they generally had a favorable opinion of refugees and asylees.Other findings led to recommendations for public education and fund-raising and suggestions for future research.

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