Canada orders deportation of female U.S. soldier

Thu Aug 30, 2012 5:21pm EDT
 
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TORONTO (Reuters) - The first female U.S. soldier to seek refuge in Canada rather than return to duty in Iraq is facing deportation, a group that advocates for her said on Thursday.

Kimberly Rivera, a 30-year-old private who served three months in Iraq and came to Canada while on leave in 2007, has been ordered out of the country, said Michelle Robidoux, spokeswoman with the War Resisters Support Campaign.

"She developed an opposition to what was going on in Iraq based on her experience in Iraq," Robidoux said.

Rivera, who has been living in Toronto with her partner and four children, could face jail time in the United States.

She was denied refugee status, but a federal court struck down an earlier deportation order. That forced immigration authorities to reconsider her removal, but after doing so they again ordered her to leave.

Rivera might still avoid deportation. Robidoux said Rivera has applied to stay in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, and that application is still pending.

In exceptional circumstances, applicants can be granted residence in Canada based on how settled they are, family ties in the country, the welfare of children involved or what might happen to an applicant if they are not allowed to stay.

During the Vietnam War, Canada was a haven for tens of thousands of draft dodgers and deserters, but soldiers from Iraq, who were volunteers, have been met with little sympathy from the federal government.

(Reporting by Allison Martell; Editing by Frank McGurty)