South Korean citizenship and military service

South-Korean military musician

South-Korean military musician (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

by Yoon Jee Hyun (JeeJee)

South Korea, an unstable peninsula under the idea of democracy, has continuous anxiety on the never-ending possibilities of warfare with the Communist country of North Korea. Due to this country’s precarious diplomatic situation with its neighbor, having a strong military system is a highly significant governmental role to achieve in South Korea. In order to have a concrete military system, male Korean citizens have to serve in the army for about 2 years, except in the cases of fourth-generation only son, child patriarch, persons with disease, and persons who have foreign citizenship. Once a male person has “South Korean citizenship”, it is his fate to enlist in the army.

From the reading of “Citizenship and Immigration: Multiculturalism, Assimilation, and Challenges to the Nation-State”, Bloemraad, Korteweg, and Yurdakul define ‘citizenship’ in four different dimensions: legal status, rights, political participation, and a sense of belonging. Simply to identify citizenship firstly as a legal status means people can get citizenship status by their own birth place or parental origins or through naturalization process. Citizenship as rights grants authorities such as basic rights to the people from the state while individual has to obligate state’s set rules. Citizenship in terms of political participation is that people are privileged to actively participate politically to shape the nation whereas the state itself can govern its people within its territory boundaries. Lastly, people have ‘in-group’ feelings by sharing the same community under the suggested definition of citizenship as sense of belonging by Bloemraad and her co-authors. All these four different dimensions integrate altogether; the notion of citizenship can be enhanced and can be advanced.

In case of South Korean citizenship, I think the emphasized meaning of citizenship as ‘rights’ plays an important role. The nation (South Korea) provides rights to its citizens such as rights to a basic education and rights to be able to live in a healthy environment. Vice versa, South Korean government can impose rules to Korean citizens that people should and have to follow. This both-way obligation process related to rights of citizenship could facilitate military service system in South Korea.

In other words, under the status of ‘Korean citizenship’ and male gender, the people are obliged by governmental law to protect their family, friends, and the nation through entering 2 years of military service.

Reference

Bloemraad, I., A. Korteweg, & G. Yurdakul. Citizenship And Immigration: Multiculturalism, Assimilation, And Challenges To The Nation-State. Annual Review of Sociology34, 153-179.

Is the dream act a good solution for undocumented immigrants in the US?

by Ryohei Sugiyama

The DREAM Act is a law that was suggested in the US in 2000. The purpose of this law is to give young illegal immigrants the opportunity to get a higher education. In the US for a long time the treatment toward young illegal immigrants has been one of the largest sections of immigrant problems. Many of the young illegal immigrants do not have consciousness that they are illegal immigrants. They were taken with their parents and grew up most of their lives in the US. Therefore, there are few differences between these people and American citizens. Nevertheless, these do not get appropriate supports. At this point, the DREAM Act is the progress of the immigrant problem in the US.

If the DREAM Act is approved, young illegal immigrants can have the opportunity to live in the US legally. This is very good point of this law. Today there are a lot of illegal immigrants in the US. They are paying large amount of taxes each year, and actually they have a large influence on the economy of the US. Nevertheless, they get unfair treatment like not entering higher-level schools or not getting jobs because of their illegalness. Especially there is no reason for young immigrants to get unfair treatment. So long as there is no reason, the young illegal immigrants should get the same opportunity as the legal people in the US.

On the other hand, there are a few negative points in the DREAM Act. The article about the military is one of the examples of the negative points. In older for young illegal immigrants to get the legal status there are mainly two choices: one is the entering higher-level school for two years after graduating from high school in the US, and the other is the joining the military. Many of the young immigrants hope to advance a grade, however they sometimes cannot do it because they do not have enough money. In this case in older to get legal status they have to join the military. They may be sent to Iraq and be forced to engage in hard actions. In my opinion, it is an inhumane act. They have to get wounds so as to get rights.

In this way the DREAM Act has some good points and bad points. Therefore, I partly agree with this law and partly disagree. Bad points, of course, should be changed. For instance, in my idea, instead of joining the military, they should engage in public enterprises such as cleaning streets or works at public places. However, it is true that the government of the US intends to tackle with the problems of illegal immigrants. Dream act is the expression of the attitude of the government, and the governments should continue to tackle with the problems of illegal immigrants sincerely and positively.

References

Dream Act Portal. Retrieved June 26, 2013 from http://dreamact.info/

Is the dream act good for the US? Retrieved June 26th 2013 from http://shimamyuko.wordpress.com/2013/05/29/ドリーム法案は米経済にプラスかマイナスか?/#more-3416