On Tuesday, July 20, Rep. Michelle Steel (CA-48) released the following statement after the Divided Families Reunification Act, legislation that she co-led in the U.S. House of Representatives, passed unanimously.
“Hundreds of families have been separated for decades and for so many of them, it may be too late. I was eager to support this legislation because these families deserve to be reunited. I urge the Senate to swiftly pass this bipartisan legislation in support of those who have waited years to see their loved ones,” said Rep. Michelle Steel.
About the Divided Families Reunification Act
This bill directs the U.S. Secretary of State to consult with South Korean officials on potential opportunities to reunite Korean Americans with family in North Korea. It also directs the State Department’s Special Envoy on North Korean Human Rights Issues to report to Congress on its consultations with representatives of Korean Americans with family in North Korea on reunification efforts.
In 2000 there were an estimated 100,000 Korean Americans in the United States who may still have family in North Korea. Now, it’s estimated that there many only be a few thousand left in North Korea due to age. Millions of people fled North Korea before the end of the Korean War, separating families who were unable to be reunited due to tension on the divided peninsula. Many are unsure if their family members are still alive.
You can learn more about the legislation, H.R. 826, here.