Refugee Crisis and the Role of NGO Lobbying in Florida

Vishnu Muraleedharan, Thomas Andrew Bryer

Abstract


War, domestic violence, and economic instability in a country force its residents to  flee their homeland and their place of birth to a different part of the world to save their lives, and around 70.8 million people have been displaced across the world (UNHCR, 2019). It is also a fundamental fact that women and children who have fled in this manner have been subject to various forms of violence and torture during their journey. Refugees are increasingly interested in emigrating to the United States of America, given the political and economic importance of the nation. Nevertheless, the United States has a strict legal system in place to prevent uncontrolled immigration, and hence the refugees face a variety of problems in order to travel to it. Refugees, particularly those travelling tens of thousands of kilometres are from Central American countries, Africa, Iran, and Syria, have arrived in many towns along the US-Mexico border. Increasing numbers of refugees force governments of the receiving countries to provide accommodation, food, and other facilities, which causes an inevitable financial crisis in the receiving regions. In such cases, the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) play a significant role in helping refugees with various types of assistance, and it is important to analyze the human rights activities of NGOs. NGOs have been a lobbyist in influencing legislators through a variety of political consultations and creating laws that protect refugees. It is crucial that NGOs can influence the Government level and various types of Cabinet Meetings, to study the issues of refugees and provide different kinds of possible support and assistance through their advocacy activities. The influence of the new media technologies in this twenty-first century has increased the opportunity to understand the lives of different people from different parts of the world and conduct various socio-political debates on global issues, such as the refugee crisis. Therefore, we need to evaluate the role of the social media of NGOs as a lobbyist in advocacy on addressing the refugee crisis. The article aims to identify the role of NGOs in addressing the migrant crisis and upholding the sanctuary policy in Florida that facilitates migrant integration. Research methods include a qualitative interview with the Florida Immigrant Coalition (FIC) and analyzing its social media discourse. The anti-sanctuary bill passed by the Florida state legislature were analysed; the analysis shows that the advocacy for the refugee crisis by NGOs using social media platforms increases civic participation. Such activism has a significant role in influencing policy framework on combating the crisis of refugee integration.

Keywords


refugee crisis; lobbying; advocacy; decision making; public policy; Florida

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"Public Policy and Administration" ISSN online 2029-2872 / ISSN print 1648-2603