Individuals in Florida seeking to remain permanently in the United States may be eligible to do so as either immigrants or refugees. Although both are terms for people who leave one country to live in another, they describe different situations.
Technically, an immigrant is someone who chooses to move to another country while a refugee is a person who is forced to leave their home country because their life is in danger. However, in practice, the difference between immigrants and refugees is less clear. For example, each year, many people come to the United States from countries such as Honduras or Guatemala because they are fleeing drug-related violence and gangs. These individuals are generally not considered refugees however. In general, to be considered a refugee, a person has to be directly targeted for violence.