Ethnic Korean Foreigners at Record Level in South Korea
Author: Steve Han
Posted: March 7th, 2014
Filed Under: BLOG
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A Korean Chinese family living in Yanbian, China.

South Korea now has more ethnic Koreans with foreign passports residing in its country than ever before, according to statistics released by the Ministry of Justice.

The data reveals that the number of ethnic Koreans with non-Korean citizenship increased by 24 percent in 2013 as more than 233,000 such people have now found a home on the Korean peninsula. Among the 1.57 million foreigners residing legally in South Korea, 15 percent of them are of Korean descent, according to the Ministry of Justice.

The hike in numbers was driven largely by a steady influx of Korean Chinese immigrants due to the amendment of immigration laws in 2008, which gave Korean Chinese more benefits and rights. Continue Reading »

South Korean Emigration at Record Low
Y. Peter Kang
Author: Y. Peter Kang
Posted: February 25th, 2014
Filed Under: BLOG
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Just 302 people emigrated from South Korea last year, the lowest number since data began being collected in 1962.

These numbers have been on a steady decline since 2003, when the number of migrants dipped below 10,000 since hitting a peak of more than 46,000 in 1976. In 2010, migrants dropped below 1,000.

Experts say that the main reason for the falling numbers is improved living and economic conditions in South Korea. However, they noted that greater requirements for obtaining resident status in the United States — the preferred destination for South Koreans — has also contributed to the decline. Continue Reading »

January Issue: Journalist Turned Immigration Activist Jose Vargas Speaks From the Heart
KoreAm
Author: KoreAm
Posted: January 22nd, 2014
Filed Under: Back Issues , BLOG , FEATURED ARTICLE , January 2014
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Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, immigration rights activist and self-declared undocumented immigrant Jose Antonio Vargas testifies on Capitol Hill on Feb. 13, 2013, before the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on comprehensive immigration reform.

American at Heart

At one time, Filipino American journalist Jose Antonio Vargas’ work was his life. Then, after “coming out” as undocumented in 2011, his life became his work.

by ADA TSENG

When Jose Antonio Vargas was 12, his mother sent him from his home in the Philippines to the United States to live with his grandparents, whom Jose grew up thinking led an affluent life overseas. In reality, his grandfather was a security guard and his grandmother worked in food services. After relocating to Mountain View, California, Vargas pledged allegiance to the flag of the United States of America every day at school, not realizing anything was amiss—other than the fact that his mother was curiously unable to follow him to the U.S. like she had planned.

Then, one day, a 16-year-old Vargas went to the DMV for the typical teenage rite of passage: to take his driver’s permit test. But when a woman there told him that his green card was fake and warned him not to come back there again, Vargas finally learned the truth about his passage to his adopted country.

Vargas’ grandfather, a naturalized citizen, told his grandson he had saved up money to purchase fake documents to bring Jose over. He had assumed Jose would grow up to work in the service industry, live a low-key life until he married someone with papers, and all would be OK. All of it, including his separation from his mother, was to give his only grandson a better future. Two things, however, derailed his grandfather’s plans for him: First, Vargas came out as gay in high school—this was in the 1990s—making the prospect of getting a green card through marriage much trickier. Second, the teenaged Vargas, instead of letting the news defeat him, convinced himself that he could earn the right to call himself an American. Continue Reading »

December Issue: Korean American Immigration Activists on Hunger Strike in Washington
Author: Steve Han
Posted: December 2nd, 2013
Filed Under: Back Issues , BLOG , December 2013
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D.J. Yoon speaks at a press conference announcing the launch of “Fast 4 Families,” at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. He is one of several activists fasting to pressure the government to pass immigration reform.

Fasting for Immigration Reform

There are few gestures as powerful as fasting for a cause, and a group of community organizers, labor leaders and activists are fasting at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., vowing to continue until immigration reform is passed.

by STEVE HAN

Dae Joong “D.J.” Yoon didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving with his children this year. The best he could do was make frequent phone calls to see how they were doing. He was in Washington, D.C., about 2,500 miles away from his home in Torrance, Calif., fasting to pressure the government to pass immigration reform.

“Obviously, my family is worried,” Yoon, the executive director of the nonprofit National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC), told KoreAm in a phone interview, which fell on the eighth day of the fast. “But we have to remember, there are millions of immigrant families who are separated already. This is a crisis. My family and I both understand that I’m doing this for a bigger cause.”

Yoon is part of Fast 4 Families, a group that, as of press time, consisted of 13 fasters who had been on the National Mall since the second week of November, vowing to stay until no longer physically able to continue, or until immigration reform passed, whichever came first.

President Obama and the First Lady also visited the fasters during the Thanksgiving weekend on Nov. 29. They thanked Yoon and all of the other fasters for their sacrifice and assured them that his administration is fully supporting the immigration reform. Continue Reading »

Immigration Disguises Severity of Poverty Among Asians in US
KoreAm
Author: KoreAm
Posted: July 22nd, 2013
Filed Under: BLOG
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by Asha DuMonthier of New America Media

The influx of highly skilled, highly educated workers on H1-B visas from Asian countries in the last decade has skewed poverty statistics, according to a new report by the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (National CAPACD).

In 2011 alone, “there were over 90,000 H1-B visas issued to people coming from Asia.” These highly skilled, high-income immigrants have increased the pool of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) and caused the AAPI poverty rate to stay stable even though the actual number of AAPIs living in poverty has grown dramatically.

Between 2000 and 2011 the official AAPI poverty rate only increased by .3 percent. Yet during the same period, according to the report, the actual number of AAPIs living in poverty increased by 50 percent, which means there are roughly half a million more AAPIs living in poverty today than there were ten years ago.

“AAPI poor are one of the fastest growing poverty populations in the wake of the Recession,” states the report. Continue Reading »

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