Viewing cable 06BANGKOK7437
Title: PRM ADMISSIONS OFFICE DIRECTOR MEETINGS IN BANGKOK

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
06BANGKOK74372006-12-15 07:07:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Bangkok
VZCZCXYZ0002
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBK #7437/01 3490707
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 150707Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY BANGKOK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3460
INFO RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 2477
C O N F I D E N T I A L BANGKOK 007437 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/12/2016 
TAGS: PREF PREL TH KN
SUBJECT: PRM ADMISSIONS OFFICE DIRECTOR MEETINGS IN BANGKOK 
 
 
Classified By: POLITICAL COUNSELOR SUSAN SUTTON, REASON 1.4 (B,D). 
 
¶1. (C) Summary.  In a meeting with the Thai Ministry of 
Interior, visiting PRM Office of Admissions Director Terry 
Rusch stated U.S. interest in resettling North Korean 
refugees from Thailand, outlined USG plans for large-scale 
Burmese resettlement during the current fiscal year and 
pressed for a streamlined RTG procedure for issuance of 
exit permits for U.S. refugee family reunification cases. 
MOI said it would work on the family reunification issue. 
Rusch also visited two facilities that house North Korean 
refugees and provided information about the U.S. refugee 
program.  End summary. 
 
¶2. (C) During a December 4-8 visit to Bangkok, PRM Office 
of Admissions Director Terry Rusch met with DHS, UNHCR, 
CDC, IOM, and ROK Embassy officials to discuss refugee 
issues.  She discussed current refugee processing with 
Overseas Processing Entity (OPE) staff and toured the OPE 
facility.  She also met with the Thai Ministry of Interior 
and with North Korean refugees at two facilities. 
 
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Meeting with Ministry of Interior 
--------------------------------- 
 
¶3. (U) In a December 7 meeting with Ministry of Interior 
(MOI) Deputy Permanent Secretary Priraphol Tritasavit, 
Rusch described how large-scale U.S. refugee resettlement 
processing in Asia was now focused on Thailand.  She 
expressed appreciation for RTG assistance on Burmese 
refugee processing and said that the USG hoped to resettle 
about 15,000 refugees from Thailand during the current 
fiscal year.  She provided the current state of play on the 
material support issue.  Rusch requested that the RTG 
create a streamlined and predictable mechanism for the 
issuance of exit permits for U.S. refugee family 
reunification cases (Visas 93 and P3 cases).  She noted 
that the U.S. had a backlog of such cases that numbered 
about 50 persons.  This number would only grow larger in 
the future as U.S refugee processing of Burmese 
accelerated. 
 
¶4. (C) Rusch stated that the U.S. wanted to process the 
small number of North Korean refugees in Thailand who 
indicated interest in U.S. resettlement.  She said the USG 
hoped the RTG would allow processing of additional North 
Korean cases.  The USG was committed to discreet handling 
of such cases though it could not control all the actors, 
such as NGOs, involved in the North Korea refugee issue. 
The USG believed that the estimates of large numbers 
(100,000 or more) of North Koreans in southern China poised 
to enter Thailand were exaggerated.  Rusch said that it 
was important that North Korean refugees have accurate 
information about the U.S. refugee program.  To this end, 
she said she had met with two groups of North Korean 
refugees in Bangkok. 
 
¶5. (C) Priraphol noted the points about North Korean 
refugees but did not respond substantively.  He said that 
the MOI was limited in what it could do on exit permits for 
family reunification cases.  The Thai National Security 
Council set guidelines that MOI had to work within.  While 
it was possible to get exit permits for special 
humanitarian cases in certain instances, the number of such 
cases would be limited.  It was important, therefore, to 
put in place a formal mechanism for the handling of such 
cases.  Priraphol recommended that lists of family 
reunification cases be presented to MOI in Bangkok.  MOI 
would then work with provincial governors to set up 
meetings of the local Provincial Admissions Boards (PABs). 
The PABs would screen the cases, and if they were approved, 
this would open the way for exit permits and departures of 
the family reunification cases. 
 
----------------------------------- 
Meetings with North Korean Refugees 
----------------------------------- 
 
¶6. (C) Rusch visited the Thai immigration detention Center 
(IDC) on December 6 with the local head of the Jesuit 
Refugee Service (JRS) Tom Coughlin to observe conditions 
for North Korean refugees at the Immigration Detention 
Center (IDC).  JRS is the only NGO with RTG permission to 
provide detainees at the IDC with medical assistance.  JRS 
reported overcrowding almost three times IDC,s normal 
capacity.  With recent Thai police raids on the South 
Korean shelter for North Koreans, there are currently 207 
North Koreans detained at the center, of which 25 have 
expressed interest in resettlement to the U.S.  Although 
each room was at maximum capacity, it was observed that the 
North Koreans had access to toilet and shower facilities. 
In general the North Koreans appeared to be adequately 
cared for by JRS. 
 
¶7. (C) Rusch met with the North Koreans at the IDC and at 
the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) who are 
interested in U.S. resettlement to clarify 
misunderstandings about the U.S. refugee program.  In both 
town-hall-like meetings, the refugees asked for absolute 
guarantees that they will be accepted into the USG program 
and repeatedly asked about the speed of USG processing. 
One woman at the IDC reported her understanding from 
various media articles that the USG is obligated to accept 
every North Korean refugee.  Rusch stated that the USG is 
committed to assisting North Korean refugees but the Act 
does not guarantee acceptance into the program.  Rusch then 
described the current state of USG processing of North 
Koreans in Thailand and reiterated the uncertainty re timing 
for receiving RTG permission to process additional 
cases. 
 
¶8. (C) Comment.  It was evident from meetings at the IDC 
and YWCA that there exist many misconceptions and 
misunderstandings regarding the U.S. resettlement program 
among the North Korean refugees.  Some factors contributing 
to this include misinformation in the media and among NGOs 
and missionary groups with interests in moving North 
Koreans to the U.S.  More information outreach regarding 
the U.S. refugee program is required to reduce North Korean 
misconceptions and assist them in making an informed 
decision regarding resettlement in the ROK or U.S. 
 
ARVIZU