Deport-o-Rama: N Koreans in Canada

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in at 12/12/2017 07:43:00 AM
On the face of it, this news item is rather dispiriting: what kind of heartless people would deport North Korean refugees? Somewhat more promisingly, it's not as bad as it sounds. Rather, authorities in Canada are looking into those who gained entrance into Canada based on dubious stories. Since North Koreans are granted automatic asylum in South Korea,  it is their belief that they would be "safe" there anyway if Canada refuses their applications:
Hyekyung Jo, a North Korean defector living in Toronto with her husband and sons for seven years, had hoped to remain in Canada as a permanent resident.

Instead, she and as many as 50 other North Korean families residing across the GTA [greater Toronto area] recently received letters from the federal Immigration Department informing them that their requests for permanent residency are poised to be revoked. They face deportation to South Korea — a place that Jo said is hostile to North Korean nationals.

Part of the issue identified in the Oct. 30 letter that Jo and her husband, Myungchul Kang, received is this: the South Korean government automatically grants North Koreans citizenship. Canada recognizes South Korea as a safe haven for refugees.

Another issue: Jo admitted at a Saturday news conference with other affected families that she and her husband weren’t truthful when they arrived in Toronto as asylum seekers in 2010. They told refugee board officials they’d travelled directly from China when, in fact, they’d lived for several years in South Korea.
What's so bad about living in South Korea? Many folks around the world would jump at the chance of living there...but the story is more complicated for North Koreans. Indeed, the North Korean refugees in Canada cite safety concerns as well as discrimination:
Progressive Conservative MPP [member of provincial parliament] Raymond Cho, who is originally from South Korea, attended the news conference. The PC immigration critic and representative for Scarborough—Rouge River said his native country can be a difficult place for North Korean defectors, who often experience discrimination at school and while seeking work.

That occurs partly because North Korean dialects are distinct and set them apart from southern speakers, Cho said. In addition, South Korean documentation, such as social insurance numbers, identifies North Korean nationals on paperwork that employers can see.

“It’s almost impossible to get a good job,” Cho said. “That’s the reality.” Cho told the crowd of about 200 people that North Koreans who don’t thrive in the South look elsewhere, to places like Canada.
Elsewhere in the article, the problem identified is that immigration brokers had told many defectors to lie about their situations to gain Canadian asylum, and those that did so are now facing deportation. It's a hard choice to make, I think: does possibly being led to lie about one's circumstances outweigh the purported discrimination North Koreans encounter in South Korea?