Every year, thousands of refugees, asylum seekers, survivors of human trafficking, and unaccompanied minors arrive in southern California.
When they can look beyond survival, they are enabled to bring their unique skills, talents, and the richness of their cultures to our communities. As they thrive, we all thrive.
In partnership with the U.S. government, the International Institute of Los Angeles helps these resilient individuals restore their freedom, dignity, and independence through comprehensive services.
The government resources offered to new arrivals, however, are very limited and makes building their new lives here all the more difficult.
Each refugee receives a mere $1,325 from the U.S. for their initial needs, including housing, which does not cover nearly enough of the resettlement cost in Southern California.
Mirwais was targeted by the Taliban because of his ties to the United States and attempts were made on his life. Like many of the clients IILA served in past year, Mirwais and his wife Bibi Maliha fled Afghanistan last August after the fall of Kabul, leaving the rest of their family behind. They were first sent to a military base in New Jersey, where they took classes on U.S. culture and law.
“The biggest challenge for me was not knowing whether I was going to be able to get asylum granted or not and be returned to my country. IILA gave me the tools I needed to be able to express myself in a way that would allow me to win my case. When I had a question, my attorney was there to answer all my questions. They were always there for me." - “S” (Unaccompanied Minor)
Nataliya Mikhnova, her husband and two young children arrived in California at the end of April 2022. They were out of the country when Russia invaded Ukraine and found themselves unable to return home. Seeking a safe haven, they found out that America had opened its doors to Ukrainians. With only 4 backpacks, they set off for another continent.