Florida is no stranger to out-of-towners as anyone can see when the state’s population swells each winter. But the state also leads the nation in the number of people moving here after fleeing war-torn or politically unstable countries around the world.
Florida leads the nation in the number of refugees moving into the United States, more than double the number settling in second-place California. Since 2013, according to the federal government, 43,184 refugees resettled in Florida, compared to 16,714 in California, 15,002 in Texas and 8,879 in New York.
And one of every 10 refugees who resettles in the Sunshine State ends up in the Tampa Bay community, government and immigration officials say. Here, they find decent weather and an established system through which they learn the culture, find jobs and get on with the rest of their lives as either permanent residents or citizens.
Predictably, most are from Cuba, a number that increased when travel restrictions were lifted earlier this year, but Florida-bound refugees also come from other parts of the Caribbean and various Central and South American countries. Many come from the Middle East and Africa.