Woodall-Backed Legislation to Reunite Korean Families Passes Markup

Press Release

Date: Oct. 30, 2019
Location: Washington, DC
Issues: Foreign Affairs

Bipartisan legislation to reunite Korean Americans with family members in North Korea was approved by the House of Representatives' Committee on Foreign Affairs today.

H.R. 1771, which now goes to the full House for approval, would direct the U.S. Department of State to consult with South Korean officials on how to reunite Korean American families with family members in North Korea, as well as to fill the vacancy in the position of "Special Envoy for Human Rights in North Korea." While the U.S. House of Representatives has introduced a number of resolutions that have raised awareness about this difficult subject, this bill would compel the State Department to take diplomatic steps to address this tragedy.

"There are so many American families who desperately want to reunite with their loved ones in North Korea," said Congressman Woodall. "Nearly seventy years after the Korean War, too many Korean Americans died not knowing what happened to their parents, their siblings, and their children. This important legislation deserves a vote on the House floor."

"Although there have been efforts on Capitol Hill over the several years, this is the farthest any legislation on this issue has reached," said Wonseok Song, Executive Director of the Korean American Grassroots Conference, the largest nationwide network of Korean American voters. "Nearly a 100,000 Korean Americans have family members in North Korea whom they have not been able to reach, let alone meet, in over 70 years. In the dynamic nature of policy toward the Korean Peninsula, often forgotten and lost are humanitarian, family issues like this. We thank Representative Woodall's bold leadership and continued support on this issue.

Congressman Woodall represents the Seventh Congressional District of Georgia, which includes significant portions of Forsyth and Gwinnett counties. He currently serves on the Rules Committee, the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, and the Budget Committee.