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Meng Applauds Passage of Bipartisan Divided Families Reunification Act Out Of Key House Committee

Oct 30, 2019
Press Release
Congresswoman’s bill would help reunite divided Korean American families with family members in North Korea

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY), a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, issued the following statement after the House Foreign Affairs Committee passed her bipartisan Divided Families Reunification Act (H.R. 1771). The measure now heads for a vote in the full House.

Meng’s bill would require the U.S. Secretary of State and the U.S. Special Envoy on North Korea Human Rights Issues to prioritize helping divided Korean American families reunite with family members in North Korea.

Thousands of Korean Americans have been separated from their relatives in North Korea since the Korean War. Since 2000, South Korea and North Korea have held over 20 family reunions; however, there has not been an official channel for Korean Americans to be included.

“The Korean War was a heart wrenching event that split the peninsula in two, forcing many families apart, and since then, family relations between both Koreas have been suspended in time,” said Meng. “My heart aches when I think of the thousands of Koreans who yearn to see and hold their loved ones in North Korea but can’t because of the vestiges of the Cold War. While South Koreans have been able to participate in limited family reunions, Korean Americans have not been privy to those opportunities. For these divided families, the so-called “Forgotten War” cannot ever be forgotten. Helping Korean Americans—many who reside in Queens--reunite with their family members in North Korea is a top priority of mine, and my bill would help them finally see their loved ones. I want to thank House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Engel and House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and Nonproliferation Chairman Sherman for their support and advancing through my bill. I am also grateful to the many Korean American advocacy groups who have championed this legislation. I look forward to passing this bill in the House of Representatives and seeing it enacted into law.”

Meng’s bipartisan legislation has 36 cosponsors that includes 11 members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.