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In a globalizing world, Korean Americans political participation is being increasingly shaped not only by their demand for empowerment in the United States―the nation of their citizenship―but also by their desire to manage their increasingly transnational lives and to fully maximize economic opportunities on the other side of the Pacific. While finding meaningful political power in the diverse and contentious American society has been a slow process, Korean Americans have found much more success in the interstitial political space of globalization and transnationalism. Within the past two decades, Korean Americans have been wooed by the South Korean government and the U.S. Departments of State and Commerce for various political and policy objectives. More specifically, this paper examines three specific laws and policies that demonstrate this transpacific turn in Korean American politics: 1) Overseas Korean Act (1999); 2) Visa Waiver Program (2008); and 3) Korea-United States Free Trade Agreement (2012). This shift in the political orientation of Korean Americans signals the increasing importance of transnational dynamics in ethnic political incorporation.

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ⓒ The Author 2020