Conflict & Justice

Kimberly Rivera, first female Iraq War resister, deported and arrested


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


Kimberly Rivera, the US Army’s first female Iraqi War resister and a mother of four, was deported from Canada on Thursday where she was immediately arrested by American authorities.

The 30-year-old Texan lost her final appeal to remain in Canada on compassionate grounds, so turned herself in at the border crossing near Alexandria Bay, New York.

“Kimberly was immediately arrested and detained, and transferred to military custody,” the War Resisters Support Campaign said on its website. “She now awaits transfer to a different military facility where she faces punishment for being absent from her unit.”

She served three months in Iraq, but she became disheartened by what she saw there.

Rivera moved to Canada in 2007 while on leave from her unit after the US Army ordered her to complete a second tour.

Now married, Rivera’s two youngest children were born in Canada.

Her family crossed the border separately after Rivera.

“Kimberly did not want her children to have to see her detained by the US military,” the War Resisters Support Campaign said.

More from GlobalPost: Canada orders out Kimberly Rivera, first female Iraq War resister

Once a safe haven for American deserters or draft dodgers especially during the Vietnam War – anywhere from 50,000 to 90,000 war resisters are said to live in Canada – the Conservative government has stiffened to dissenters and their claims.

Canada has deported two other American war resisters in recent high-profile cases.

After Immigration Minister Jason Kenney’s secretary made the announcement in Parliament on Thursday that Rivera had been deported, Conservative lawmakers cheered.

“Our government does not believe that the administration of the president or the president himself in any way, shape, or form, is going to persecute Ms. Rivera,” Rick Dykstra said, according to The Canadian Press.

Rivera’s case drew widespread attention in Canada and overseas, with Archbishop Desmond Tutu even voicing his support.

In an editorial in the Globe and Mail newspaper, Tutu called Rivera and her family “people of courage and peace.”

Rivera faces between two and five years behind bars if convicted.

More from GlobalPost: Canada no longer a safe haven for war resisters