Five years ago, US soldier Kimberly Rivera fled to Canada to avoid serving in Iraq with her husband and four children. Last week however, Citizenship and Immigration Canada issued her a deportation order giving her until September 20 to exit the country.
After serving a tour in Iraq in 2006, the 30-year-old Army private crossed the border into Canada while on leave in February 2007 to avoid serving a second tour there. Soon after her arrival, she applied for refugee status.
While the Liberal government that was in power at the time when Rivera entered into Canada chose not to join the coalition, the current Conservative government led by Prime-minister Stephen Harper has made it clear that military deserters from the United States are not genuine refugees under the internationally accepted meaning of the term.
Although Rivera is clearly running out of time, Manning commented that her client is considering appealing the deportation ruling despite the fact that she has not received a decision on her application for permanent residency in Canada based on humanitarian and compassionate grounds despite the fact that she has four children between the ages of 18 months and 10 years-old.
If she appeals the deportation order, it will mark the second time she will attempt to fight being forced to return to the United States with the first one occurring in January of 2009 when Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board ordered Rivera and her family to leave Canada voluntarily or face deportation.
According to the War Resisters Support Campaign, there are approximately 200 Iraq war resisters residing in Canada and of those, two have been deported- Robert Long and Clifford Cornell who each faced year-long jail sentences upon their return to the United States.
Military deserters seeking refugee status in Canada is nothing new. During the Vietnam War, up to 90,000 Americans were granted refugee status in Canada in an effort to avoid the military draft.
While many were given permanent residency status and eventually Canadian citizenship, the majority returned to the United States after being granted amnesty in the late 1970s by President Carter.
A competent immigration lawyer is necessary to file an appeal. Niren and Associates is among the most trusted immigration firms in Canada and the United States. It has over 15 years of experience in handling immigration issues and has a dedicated team of licensed immigration attorneys who are capable of helping clients. Contact us for more information if you are facing deportation or are looking to immigrate to Canada.
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