TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 31, 2012) - On Thursday, August 30, US Iraq war resister Kimberly Rivera, her husband Mario and their four young children will hear whether they will be subject to deportation back to the United States of America. Kimberly served in the Iraq war in 2006 and sought refuge in Canada in 2007 after making the decision that she could no longer participate in the war.
A media conference will be held on Friday, August 31 at 10:00 am local time at 25 Cecil Street to respond to the decision.
Kimberly was the first female US Iraq War resister to come to Canada. She and her family live in Toronto. If deported, she faces harsh punishment. War resisters Robin Long and Clifford Cornell, two Iraq War resisters deported by the Harper government, were court-martialed and sentenced to 15 months and 12 months respectively for their opposition to the Iraq War. The evidence used against them during their court martial hearings included Canadian news media reports of them speaking out.
The Parliament of Canada has adopted two motions calling on the federal government to allow war resisters to stay in Canada permanently. But Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney has publicly called Iraq War resisters "bogus refugee claimants," biasing the decisions in their cases. In July 2010, he issued a bulletin to all immigration officers requiring them to red-flag applications that involve US war resisters, labeling them as "criminally inadmissible."
Amnesty International Canada and former Immigration and Refugee Board chair Peter Showler have called for Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) Operational Bulletin 202 to be rescinded because it "fails to recognize that military desertion for reasons of conscience is in fact clearly recognized as a legitimate ground for refugee protection" and it "misstates the law and seeks to intrude on the independence of both IRB members and Immigration Officers."
Federal Court/Federal Court of Appeal decisions in favour of US war resisters
Since 2008, there have been 10 Federal Court or Federal Court of Appeal decisions in favour of US war resisters who are seeking permanent resident status in Canada:
|1. Joshua Key - July 2008
|2. James Corey Glass - July 2008
|3. Jeremy Hinzman - September 2008
|4. Matthew Lowell - September 2008
|5. Dean Walcott - January 2009
|6. Kimberly Rivera - March 2009
|7. Kimberly Rivera - August 2009
|8. Jeremy Hinzman - July 2010 (Federal Court of Appeal)
|9. Dean Walcott - April 2011
|10. Chris Vassey - July 2011
Key dates: US war resisters in Canada
January 3, 2004: Jeremy Hinzman (www.thestar.com/comment/article/641489), the first US Iraq War resister to come to Canada, arrived along with his wife Nga Nguyen and their first child Liam.
June 3, 2008: The House of Commons passed a motion(www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?DocId=3204056&Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=39&Ses=2) directing the Government of Canada to immediately stop deportation proceedings against all US Iraq War resisters and facilitate the resisters' requests for permanent resident status.
June 27, 2008: An Angus Reid Strategies poll reveals that the majority (two-thirds) of Canadians agrees with the decision to let US Iraq War resisters stay in Canada as permanent residents.
July 15, 2008: Robin Long (www.canada.com/theprovince/news/story.html?id=83bfbe5f-018c-43f9-8f31-20d79f3d0148) becomes the first US Iraq War resister to be deported by the Harper government.
October 2, 2008: Prime Minister Stephen Harper reversed his previous support for the US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq stating (www.youtube.com/user/WarResistersCanada#p/c/C64942690C831C77/6/JYTTbmCL4RQ) during the English-language leaders' election debate:
"It was absolutely an error. It's obviously clear the evaluation of weapons of mass destruction proved not to be correct. That's absolutely true and that's why we're not sending anybody to Iraq."
January 9, 2009: Jason Kenney was criticized by Amnesty International Canada and the Canadian Council for Refugees for biasing all US resisters' cases with his public "bogus refugee claimants" comment (www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2009/01/09/refugee-war.html).
February 4, 2009: US Iraq War resister Cliff Cornell (www.canada.com/nanaimodailynews/news/story.html?id=c74e9d3c-3582-43e8-b34e-352f4e25d473) was arrested when he crossed the border into the United States after exhausting all appeals to remain in Canada.
March 15, 2009: Members of Parliament Olivia Chow and Borys Wrzesnewskyj met with US Iraq War resister Robin Long in the Naval Consolidated Brig Miramar near San Diego. Long was court-martialed and sentenced to 15 months in prison after being deported from British Columbia by the Harper government.
March 30, 2009: The June 3, 2008 motion (www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?DocId=3681601&Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=40&Ses=2) was passed by Parliament a second time.
April 28, 2009: Cliff Cornell (www.straight.com/article-216523/cliff-cornell-sentenced) was sentenced to 12 months in prison and a bad conduct discharge after publicly expressing his conscientious objection to the Iraq War while in Canada. Prosecutors used footage of a television news interview with Cornell as evidence against him.
September 18, 2009: US war resister and veteran Rodney Watson (www.thestar.com/comment/article/742512) took sanctuary in the First United Church in Vancouver, BC, to avoid deportation by the Harper government. He remains there (www.michaelmoore.com/words/latest-news/iraq-war-resister-marks-one-year-taking-sanctuary-vancouver-church) today.
July 6, 2010: Federal Court of Appeal issued its unanimous ruling (www.sympatico.ca/ken.marciniec/20100706-FederalCourtOfAppeal-HinzmanVMinCitizenshipImmigration_A-276-09.pdf) in favour of Hinzman.
July 22, 2010: Citizenship and Immigration Canada, at the direction of Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, issued Operational Bulletin 202 (www.cic.gc.ca/english/resources/manuals/bulletins/2010/ob202.asp) which formalizes the bias against all US war resisters in policy that immigration decision-makers must follow.
September 2010: Peter Showler (www.resisters.ca/2010.09.29-Embassy_WithdrawUSWarResisterBulletin.pdf), former Chair of Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board, and Amnesty International Canada (www.resisters.ca/Amnesty_International_OB_202_sept_2010.pdf) call on Immigration Minister Jason Kenney to rescind CIC Operational Bulletin 202 because it, "misstates the law and seeks to intrude on the independence of both IRB members and Immigration Officers," and "implies that military deserters from the US should be treated differently than deserters from other countries," despite there being, "no basis in law for that proposition."
April 5, 2011: Federal Court of Canada rules in favour of US war resister and veteran Dean Walcott.
July 18, 2011: Federal Court of Canada rules in favour of US war resister and veteran Chris Vassey.