May a citizen of North Korea be granted political asylum despite being firmly resettled in South Korea? The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals recently said, “no.”
In Jang v. Lynch, — F.3d. — (9th Cir. 2015) the applicant, Sung Kil Jang, was born in North Korea and is a citizen of North Korea. He was persecuted in North Korea and eventually was able to escape by swimming across a river to China. He spent a year in China and then traveled to Vietnam and Cambodia before eventually landing up in South Korea. In South Korea, he completed college, worked and lived there for four years. He eventually became a citizen of South Korea. He also had family in South Korea – a sister and her family and a brother. He had all rights available to citizens in South Korea – the right to hold property, receive education, travel, and obtain public relief. For reasons not discussed in the case, Mr. Jang came to the United States and soon thereafter applied for political asylum.