Update, May 5, 7:09 am:

Somewhat unusually, Joo Won-moon, a South Korean citizen, US green card holder and NYU student who was arrested on April 22 for entering North Korea illegally, has been allowed an interview with western television, as shown on video clips released on the morning of May 5, US time. He stated that he is being treated well and decided to enter North Korea in order to bring about a "great event" which would help improve relations between North and South Korea.

He did not explain what the great event was, or how his entering North Korea illegally would help bring about better relations between the two Koreas. However, if his claim that he has a private room with three beds and a bathroom and is being fed well is true, his treatment by the North Koreans would appear to be quite favorable compared to that of Central American mothers and children being held by ICE at detention facilities such as the the one at Karnes, Texas.

This is despite the fact that unlike Joo, who says that he intended to violate North Korea's immigration laws and expected to be arrested, many of the Central American families locked up by ICE have arguable claims to be eligible to stay in the US legally under our asylum laws.

In locking up the Central American refugees in conditions that many of them claim to be inhuman, and denying thousands of children seeking asylum the right to counsel, the Department of Homeland Security is raising questions (now being litigated in a federal court in Seattle) about whether that agency is showing any more respect for US law than Joo did for the laws of North Korea.

My original post appears below.

Among the many reasons why immigrants in the US are so eager to get a green card and fight so hard for that privilege is that absent a criminal record or other special circumstances, they never again have to worry about being arrested by immigration officers. But one reported green card holder, a 21-year old South Korean citizen and NYU student by the name of Joo Won-moon, was arrested on April 22 by immigration officers anyway - in North Korea.

According to a May 2 Reuters news story, North Korea announced the same day that it had arrested Joo for illegally crossing into North Korea from the Chinese side of the Yalu River.



One trusts that Joo, who may be staying in North Korea for quite some time, will not lose his green card on the grounds of having abandoned US permanent residence. It is also likely that Joo, if he did not know this before, will now realize that North Korea, by all indications, has the tightest and most effective border security in the world, at a level which some of America's politicians would evidently like to emulate, judging from the high priority they attach to this issue.

One might even wonder why one or more North Korean experts in this area have not been invited to the US to share their experiences and suggestions with some of the people who would like to invest billions of US taxpayer dollars in boosting the profits of private companies with high tech gadgets aimed at making our borders as secure as North Korea's.
Roger Algase is a New York lawyer and graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. For more than 30 years, he has been helping employment-based and family-based immigrants overcome the obstacles of America's complex immigration system and achieve their goals of living and working in the US.

His immigration law practice does not involve border security policy issues and he does not claim to have expertise in that area.

Roger welcomes questions and comments at algaselex@gmail.com