Korean Who Served in US Military Faces Deportation; Should He Be Allowed to Stay in the US?

Via a reader tip comes this story about an Iraq War veteran facing deportation to South Korea:

An Iraq war veteran who grew up in Portland is being held by federal immigration agents in a Tacoma detention center and could be deported to South Korea.

Chong Hwan Kim, 41, has lived in Portland since his family immigrated with documentation when he was 5, his friends said.

But federal immigration authorities say Kim was arrested because of criminal convictions.

Immigration authorities detained Kim on April 5 because of a recent first-degree arson felony conviction, said Rose Riley, an Immigrations and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman. Kim later told friends that agents arrested him after he got a call telling him to come downtown to discuss his probation.

But Kim’s friends argue it’s wrong to deport a man who grew up in and went to war for the United States. Jordan Meyers, who met Kim through a Department of Veterans Affairs support group, worries what will happen to his friend if he is sent to South Korea, where he does not speak the language and has no family.

“He came to our country legally. … He fought for our country. He bled with us,” Meyers said. “Does that not earn for him the right to live here?”  [Oregon Live]

You can read more at the link, but serving in the National Guard does not give someone a right to have citizenship.  Part of being applying to be a citizen is to not have a criminal history.  Kim has an extensive criminal history.  On top of that Kim received a general discharge under honorable conditions from the National Guard so he clearly got in trouble during his time serving to not get an honorable discharge.

He could have applied to be a citizen a long time ago if he came to the US with a valid Green Card, but I am willing to bet his criminal history is what has been preventing it from happening.  Based on what I have read it seems Kim has earned his deportation and I recommend he begin brushing up on his Korean.

South Korean Immigration Reform Leads to Mass Self Deportation of Illegal Immigrants

The argument that illegal immigrants in the United States will not self deport is often made to explain why they should just be given amnesty.  As the case with South Korea shows illegal immigrants there self deported once they had a viable option to seek legal status:

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An amnesty program for overstaying foreigners is having an unexpected consequence: Korea is suddenly short of nannies, restaurant help and construction workers.

In April, the Ministry of Justice announced an amnesty for people who overstayed their visas or illegally immigrated. It said that they could apply for overseas Korean visas, known as F-4, if they left Korea and went home in the next six months.

This was the first time the ministry has promised to allow all overstayers to apply for visas to return to Korea.

The amnesty is working. Over 12,000 foreigners who were in Korea illegally left the country from April to May, twice the 5,300 who left in the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Justice.   (…………)

“When I went to Incheon airport at 5 a.m., the third floor was crowded with illegal immigrants waiting to leave,” said Lee Byung-chun, who works for the Han-a administrative agency.    [Joong Ang Ilbo]

You can read the rest at the link, but the big different though with South Korea compared to the US is that there isn’t an entire political party trying to lock in the illegal immigrant vote.  This is likely why Korea was able to successfully implement immigration reform and the United States cannot.

Korea Is A “Fun Hell”, America Is A “Boring Heaven”?

I think there is some truth to the above Korean saying:

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More and more young men and women of Korea find life in their motherland so painfully tough that they literally call it hell, some even plotting to pick up and leave for another country.

But what happens when you really take off?

The Korea Times talked to 10 men and women from different walks of life who’ve immigrated to the U.S. within the past decade and here’s what they had to say about the reality of departing “Hell Joseon, a viral term that embodies young people’s sense of hopelessness in Korea.

“I’ll be honest,” said Kim Ga-young, 38, who left Korea for Atlanta two years ago after leaving her job in the customer service industry. “I don’t have to put up with nonsense brought on by all kinds of snobby people. But I’m facing a whole new set of problems here, too.”

Language and cultural barriers are the biggest trouble for her.

“I had never been overseas past Japan. The U.S. and the Western world is completely new to me, so it’s definitely going to take some time to find my place here,” says Kim, who works part-time at a Korean-owned beauty supply store.

Park Jung-hyun, 55, who made the big move almost 10 years ago, is happy to say that most of the language and cultural barriers are a thing of the past now.

“The first three years was difficult and sad,” she says, “but once I understood the true American life, I realized that I don’t have to be ashamed about not speaking the language and knowing the culture. In a way, many of us are foreigners here.”

Park, who owns and runs a coin laundry shop in Los Angeles with her husband, finds her new life satisfying, both financially and emotionally.

“My husband and I both worked long hours back in Korea,” she said, “and we still work long hours now, but interestingly, there’s a much better work-life balance here.”

Many Koreans who live in the U.S. generally have access to more family time throughout the week and during the weekend, but for some, family time isn’t the only thing they want.

“There’s a saying that Korea is a fun hell and the U.S. is a boring heaven,” says Kim, 41, a hairdresser in Dallas, who didn’t want to be fully named. “I miss being able to just walk out late at night, meeting up with old friends and getting a drink without the hassle of driving on the freeway for 30 minutes to get somewhere.” [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link.

Should Korea Create Anchor Baby System to Improve Birth Rate?

It seems racist to me to have an anchor baby system for one race of migrant workers to South Korea, but not others.  It would be interesting to see if other migrant workers could challenge such a system in court if it ever was implemented:

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The tragedy reminded me of a controversial remark made by Kim Moo-sung, leader of the ruling Saenuri Party. At the seventh meeting of the party’s Special Committee on Low Birth on Jan. 29, Kim mentioned Germany’s acceptance of four million immigrants from Turkey. He said, “Korea has a great way to minimize culture shock. We can bring in ethnic Koreans from China.” He proposed that Chinese nationals of Korean descent could raise our plunging birth rate.

His remark was met with revulsion. Seongnam Mayor Lee Jae-myung criticized Kim, saying, “The Korean-Chinese are not machines for giving birth.” The National Women’s Committee of the opposition Minjoo Party of Korea pointed out that “Kim’s comment is disparaging to the Korean-Chinese people and Korean citizens, and that shows his wrong view on women.”  [Joong Ang Ilbo]

You can read the rest at the link.

Swedish Academic Wants South Korea to Open Borders to Immigration

Why would anyone want the immigration problems that Sweden has?:

A world renowned scholar has called for gender equality improvements in South Korea, saying it lags behind the country’s economic advancement.

In an interview with KBS on Saturday, Swedish medical doctor and statistician Hans Rosling said United Nations’ data proves that South Korea has become an advanced nation comparable to countries like Japan or Sweden.

However, he said that in the area of gender equality, such as birth rate or the percentage of women politicians, South Korea lags behind Sweden by about 50 years.

He said the traditional thinking that women are in charge of childcare and household chores has not caught up with the nation’s economic development.

Rosling also said that accepting immigrants could be a solution to South Korea’s low birth rate and pointed out that more immigrants not only boosts population but also expands social diversity.  [KBS World Radio]

Here is what this Swedish scholar wishes to impose on Korea:

Sweden takes in more refugees per capita than any other European country, and immigrants – mainly from the Middle East and Africa – now make up about 16 per cent of the population. The main political parties, as well as the mainstream media, support the status quo. Questioning the consensus is regarded as xenophobic and hateful. Now all of Europe is being urged to be as generous as Sweden.

So how are things working out in the most immigration-friendly country on the planet?

Not so well, says Tino Sanandaji. Mr. Sanandaji is himself an immigrant, a Kurdish-Swedish economist who was born in Iran and moved to Sweden when he was 10. He has a doctorate in economics from the University of Chicago and specializes in immigration issues. This week I spoke with him by Skype.

“There has been a lack of integration among non-European refugees,” he told me. Forty-eight per cent of immigrants of working age don’t work, he said. Even after 15 years in Sweden, their employment rates reach only about 60 per cent. Sweden has the biggest employment gap in Europe between natives and non-natives.

In Sweden, where equality is revered, inequality is now entrenched. Forty-two per cent of the long-term unemployed are immigrants, Mr. Sanandaji said. Fifty-eight per cent of welfare payments go to immigrants. Forty-five per cent of children with low test scores are immigrants. Immigrants on average earn less than 40 per cent of Swedes. The majority of people charged with murder, rape and robbery are either first- or second-generation immigrants. “Since the 1980s, Sweden has had the largest increase in inequality of any country in the OECD,” Mr. Sanandaji said.  [Globe and Mail]

Why would anyone in Korea want to sign up for this?