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U.S. Senate & House Introduce
North Korean Freedom Act

November 26, 2003

In the U.S. Senate:

On Nov. 20th, Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) and Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) introduced the North Korea Freedom Act of 2003 in the US Senate (Senate Bill S.1903).

* Download the text of Senate Bill S.1903 in PDF format

For questions or more information please contact Kate Fowler at or by phone at
      703-904-7323 or

And in the U.S. House of Representatives:

A slightly different version of the North Korean Freedom Act was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. This draft bill differs slightly from its Senate version.

* Download the text of House Bill PDF format.

Doug Anderson of the Asia and the Pacific Subcommittee of the House International Relations Committee explains a few of the changes from the Senate version.

H.R. 3573, the North Korean Freedom Act, was introduced in the House this evening by Rep. Jim Leach (R-Iowa), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, along with the Ranking Member on the Subcommittee, Eni Faleomavaega (D-American Samoa), and Chris Smith (R-NJ), Vice Chairman of the Committee on International Relations.

The PDF document provided in the link above is identical to the House bill, except for a small but important one-word change: On page 7, line 8 of the introduced bill, Mr. Leach replaced the word "limited" with the word "credible" (so that the section could not be read as an attempt to constrict, rather than encourage, more generous US refugee policy toward North Koreans).

In addition to a number of stylistic and drafting fixes throughout, H.R. 3573 differs from the Senate bill, introduced earlier, in three main ways:

(1) It makes North Koreans who have suffered at the hands of their regime eligible for P2 status (that is, they would have access to U.S. refugee processing without the need for a UNHCR referral);

(2) While it increases the discretion of the Secretary of Homeland Security to temporarily parole North Koreans into the U.S. pending adjudication of their refugee claims, it does NOT waive the case-by-case screening requirement, for serious security reasons (the risk of insertion of covert North Korean agents or others who may intend harm makes case-by-case screening both prudent and necessary); and

(3) The bill incorporates the text of H.R. 367, the brief Hyde bill that clarifies that, for purposes of US refugee and asylum processing, North Koreans should be treated as North Koreans (so that their potential right to claim South Korean citizenship is not used to disregard their wishes to be considered for U.S. refugee processing).

Please feel free to disseminate this information (while making sure that you note the one-word difference in the PDF file).