TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 31, 2012) - On Thursday, August 30, US Iraq War resister Kimberly Rivera, her husband Mario, and their four young children received notice that they face deportation back to the United States of America after their Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA) application was rejected. Unless this decision is reversed, they must leave the country by September 20. Their application to stay in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds is still pending.
At a media conference in Toronto on Friday morning, Kimberly Rivera, Member of Parliament Peggy Nash (Parkdale-High Park), and representatives of Amnesty International Canada, the Canadian Friends Service Committee (Quakers), the United Church of Canada, and the Canadian Labour Congress called on the federal government to stop the deportation of the Rivera family.
Kimberly served in Iraq in 2006 and experienced, first-hand, the reality of that illegal war. In 2007, she became the first woman US Iraq War resister to come to Canada. She lives in Toronto with her husband Mario, son Christian (10 years), daughter Rebecca (8 years), and Canadian daughter Katie (3 years) and son Gabriel (18 months).
"The Rivera family faces enormous hardship if the Canadian government proceeds with this deportation," said Michelle Robidoux, spokesperson for the War Resisters Support Campaign. "Kim's conscientious stand against the Iraq War has broad support in her community and across the country. Canada should not be sending her to the US to face jail, separation from her four young children, and a felony conviction for making the same decision that we, as a nation, made to not participate in the war."
"Canada has a proud history of protecting courageous people like Kimberly Rivera, who protest unjust wars," said Peggy Nash, MP for Parkdale-High Park, the riding where the Rivera family resides.
Parliament has adopted two motions calling on the federal government to allow war resisters to stay in Canada. However Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney has publicly labelled Iraq War resisters as "bogus refugee claimants," potentially biasing immigration officers under his employ against war resisters' applications. In July 2010, he issued a directive to all immigration officers requiring them to red-flag applications that involve US war resisters, labeling them as "criminally inadmissible."
"Amnesty International is concerned that past comments and a directive (Operational Bulletin 202) made by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration may have had a prejudicial impact on the refugee and humanitarian decisions of military deserters from the United States," said Gloria Nafziger, Refugee, Migrants and Country Campaigner for Amnesty International Canada.