Rep. Lee Jasmine, front row left, stands beside Lee Gyeong-suk, head of an association of marriage immigrant women, as she speaks at a press conference at the National Assembly in Seoul, Friday. Courtesy of Rep. Lee Jasmine's office

Marriage immigrant women in Korea and a Philippine-born naturalized Korean lawmaker called for substantial measures to guarantee their political participation to better represent 2.5 million people from multicultural backgrounds. Rep. Lee Jasmine of the minor progressive Green Justice Party, the first and only Korean lawmaker with an immigrant background, held a press conference at the National Assembly in Seoul, Friday, along with members of an association of marriage immigrant women, as the April 10 general elections approach. “No political party in Korea has actively represented the opinions and rights of immigrants,“ said Lee Gyeong-suk, the head of the association.“ Korea’s political parties must find ways to encourage marriage immigrants to participate in politics and speak up for themselves. The upcoming general elections must be the first step.”

Established in 2014 to help migrant wives’ integration into Korean society and encourage their political participation, the association has over 50,000 members of Chinese, Japanese, Mongolian, Filipino, Uzabek, Cambodian, Nepalese, Vietnamese and ethnic Korean backgrounds. Rep. Lee criticized Korean politicians for ignoring marriage migrants yet using locally popular foreign celebrities as tools to garner attention from voters during election campaigns. The association proposed the authorities hire marriage immigrants for positions in local governments to be in charge of immigration-related work and encourage their political participation by giving extra admission points to candidates with marriage immigrant backgrounds when entering politics. Also, the group urged the country to mandate immigrant groups to carry out civil education activities at least twice a year .Korea has seen a dramatic jump over the years in the number of marriage immigrants — from 619 in 1990 to 136,752 in 2022, the group noted .Despite their growing population and contributions to the country’s economy amid its falling birthrate, there has been no proper political representation for them, the lawmaker pointed out, noting that less than 0.1 percent of 9,400 토토사이트 bills in connection with immigrants passed the Assembly between 2020 and 2024.

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