Conflict & Justice

Kimberly Rivera, first female Iraq war resister, ordered back to US


Kimberly Rivera poses with one of her children and the late Jack Layton, former leader of the New Democrat Party of Canada.


The Canadian government has ordered Kimberly Rivera back to the US where she faces possible jail time as the first female US soldier to flee the war in Iraq.

War Resisters Support Campaign said the 30-year-old mother of four is now considering an application to remain in Toronto based on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

“She developed an opposition to what was going on in Iraq based on her experience in Iraq,” War Resisters representative Michelle Robidoux told Reuters.

Rivera was a private in the US Army.

She served three months in Iraq, but didn’t return to duty after crossing the border into Canada in 2007.

The US Army had ordered her to complete a second tour in Iraq.

Rivera now lives in Toronto with her partner and children, the youngest two having both been born in Canada.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada gave her a Sept. 20 deadline to return to the US, The Associated Press said.

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Facing as many as five years in prison, she was to meet with lawyers today to discuss her options, including the compassionate appeal process.

Canadian government officials didn’t comment, the AP said.

“(Immigration Minister Jason) Kenney continues to intervene by telling immigration officers to red flag US soldiers who are applying for asylum as criminally inadmissible,” Robidoux told the AP.

“We think that has tainted the whole process and the government should withdraw that directive.”

She applied for refugee status, lost and was ordered out in January 2009.

That led to her latest appeal.

Canada, a haven for an estimated 90,000 Vietnam War resisters in the 1960s and '70s, has undergone a change in political will.

The ruling Conservative Party of Canada has ignored a 2009 non-binding motion that urged clemency for US soldiers seeking refuge.

In 2008, the government ordered Robin Long back to the US, where he received a 15-month jail sentence and dishonorable discharge after pleading guilty to desertion.

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