Reps. Kim, Bass Lead Bipartisan Resolution Encouraging Reunions of Divided Korean American Families
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Representatives Young Kim (CA-39), one of the first Korean American women to serve in Congress, helped introduce a bipartisan resolution with Rep. Karen Bass (CA-37) to encourage reunions of divided Korean American families with family members in North Korea.
This resolution calls on the United States and North Korea to reunite Korean American divided family members with their immediate relatives as a humanitarian policy of immediate concern.
“An estimated 100,000 Korean Americans with family members in North Korea have not seen or heard from their loved ones in more than 60 years,” said Rep. Young Kim. “As a Korean American, I understand and have great empathy for Korean Americans’ continued separation from their families in North Korea, and have been pushing to reunite these family members since before serving in Congress. Time is running out to reunite these war-torn families, which is why I am proud to co-lead this bipartisan resolution to show Congress is united in wanting to right this terrible wrong and reunite Korean Americans with their war-torn loved ones.”
“The institution of family is inalienable,” Rep. Bass said. “I’ve heard from constituents in my district who have been unable to see their family members for decades because of international conflict. This resolution divorces the two issues and shines the light on this plight hundreds of thousands of Korean Americans are have lived with, some for the majority of their lives. This reunification should be a humanitarian priority of immediate concern.”
“We thank Congresswoman Kim’s unwavering support on establishing formal mechanisms for war-torn families to re-connect,” said Wonseok Song, executive director of the Korean American Grassroots Conference (KAGC), the largest nationwide network of Korean American voters. “Congresswoman Kim has spoken up for the urgent need for humanitarian family reunions time and time again, and we appreciate her support for this resolution. We look forward to resolving urgent crises together and fostering a lasting peace.”
“Representative Bass and Kim’s longtime leadership on supporting the reunion of elderly Korean Americans with their family in North Korea gives our community hope for healing and closure to more than seventy years of separation,” said Paul Lee, president of Divided Families USA.
Rep. Kim also helped introduce the bipartisan Divided Families Reunification Act (H.R. 826), which would require the Secretary of State and the U.S. Special Envoy on North Korea Human Rights Issues to prioritize helping divided Korean American families reunite with their loved ones in North Korea.