November 30, 2016
On November 29, 2016, the U.S. House of Representatives passed joint resolution H.Con.Res.40, encouraging North Korea to allow Korean Americans to meet with their families in North Korea. The timely resolution comes as the 114th Congress enters the last few weeks of its 2nd and final session and, more importantly, as many of the 100,000 divided Korean American families pass away. The Korean War divided roughly 10 million families, and many have since become American citizens. In a press release on the resolution’s passage, Representative Charles Rangel (D-NY) said, “This resolution lays the foundation for divided family members to meet their loved ones whom they have not been able to see for over six decades… These Americans have every right to see their loved ones and it is our duty to help them by encouraging reunions.”
Rep. Rangel, who is a Korean War veteran and first introduced this resolution in February 2014, further noted, “The United States must remain firmly committed to the humanitarian aspects of family reunions.” The passage and introduction of this resolution would not have been possible without the efforts of the Council of Korean Americans, Korean American Coalition, Korean American Associate of Greater New York, and, especially, Divided Families USA, who have been championing this issue for nearly a decade. The resolution will now go to the Senate for approval, where it has bipartisan support from Senators Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Mark Warner (D-VA).