The U.S. government issued work permits for a family of North Korean refugees. Ma Young-ae’s family had settled down in South Korea after escaping from the North and asked for asylum in the U.S., claiming she was “oppressed by the South Korean government.”
Earlier this year, a court in California granted asylum to Seo Jae-seok who had also initially settled in South Korea. However, Ma’s case is the first for the U.S. administration to officially give asylum to refugees with South Korean nationality.
Ma said in a telephone interview on Sunday, “My husband and I received work permits by mail on last Thursday. When we asked for asylum, the U.S. authorities advised us to apply for work permits, so we did. I believe we were given asylum because we acted on the advice.” She added, “We will be qualified to apply for green cards in a year, so we will do so then.” Ma is staying near New York with her husband and 16-year-old son.