How the Koreans in New York City evolved

The history of Korean immigration in the New York City area is rich with lessons about the pathways for an immigrant population.

Due to racist immigration restrictions, there were hardly any Koreans in the United States before the 1965 reform act. There was a surge between the mid 1970s and the 1990s, then a subsiding, as economic and political conditions on Korea improved. About one tenth of them came to the New York City area. For the most part they were not well educated and had problems with English. They lived in enclaves in Queens.

They took to self-employment, starting or buying small businesses as neighborhood groceries in poor communities. The Korean grocery became a common feature. Korean grocers served a traditional economic function of middlemen between economic classes. Then, grocery chains killed off the neighborhood grocery, and they turned to services for the middle class—nail salons and dry cleaners. Koreans currently dominate these sectors. Immigrants in the U.S. are more than native Americans inclined to running small businesses because they offer compared to employment relatively better economic prospects.

In the area in Lower Manhattan, at Broadway and 32nd St., became known as Korea Town due to the concentration of import and wholesale companies….these companies have almost completely left and the area transformed to Korean restaurants, salons and shops.

Gradually more formally educated Koreans arrived, such as graduate students who may have studied on the West Coast and migrated to New York. Starting in the 1990s, and accelerating after 2000, many Koreans left New York City for middle class communities in Bergen County in New Jersey, where there are a lot of Korean amenities.

There about 150,000 Korean immigrants in the New York City area now. Nationwide, these immigrants are better educated than native born Americans. The Korean population for the entire country, one million, has been flat for some years.

Much of this is from a chapter on Koreans in New York City by Pyong Gap Min, in One out of three: Immigrant New York in the 21st Century.

Public charge policy changes could severely reduce green cards

The administration’s proposed public charge policy could reduce the awarding of green cards (now about one million a year) by several hundred thousand, per analysis by the Kaiser Foundation.

On October 10, the Trump Administration published proposed rules which would greatly expand the criteria under which applicants for a green card would be denied due to public charge rules. The expansion is complicated, a comparison with existing rules is here. The comment period for new rule ended December 10.

The proposed rule would expand the programs that the federal government would consider in public charge determinations to include previously excluded health, nutrition, and housing programs, including Medicaid. It also identifies characteristics DHS could consider as negative factors that would increase the likelihood of someone becoming a public charge, including having income below 125% of the federal poverty level (FPL) ($25,975 for a family of three as of 2018).

Who is affected by the public charge standard?

The proposed rule would directly affect noncitizens seeking to obtain LPR status. DHS data show that 1.1 million individuals obtained LPR status in 2017, including about 550,000 living within the U.S. who adjusted to LPR [green card] status and about 580,000 who entered the U.S. as a new arrival. About 380,000 of the 550,000 individuals who adjusted to LPR status within the U.S. did so through a pathway that would likely be subject to a public charge determination. Some groups, including refugees and asylees, are exempt from public charge determinations.

How many of these people without a green card could be barred under the proposed rules?

Nearly all (94%) noncitizens who entered the U.S. without LPR status have at least one characteristic that DHS could potentially weigh negatively in a public charge determination under the proposed rule. The most common characteristics that DHS could consider negative factors are a household size of three or more (78%), no private health coverage (59%), and no high school diploma (40%). In addition, over one-third (34%) have income below the 125% FPL standard the proposed rule would establish. Just over one in four (26%) are enrolled in a public program that the rule identifies as a public benefit.

Over four in ten (42%) noncitizens who originally entered the U.S. without LPR status have characteristics that DHS could consider a heavily weighted negative factor …. current enrollment in a public benefit (26%), not being employed and not a full-time student (and aged 18 or older) (27%), and having a disability that limits the ability to work and lacking private health coverage (3%).