The first female American soldier to seek refuge in Canada rather than return to duty in Iraq was arrested at the U.S. border Thursday after losing her appeal against deportation, according to an advocacy group that had campaigned on her behalf.
Kimberly Rivera, a 30-year-old private who served three months in Iraq and came to Canada while on leave in 2007, was taken into custody at the Thousand Islands Bridge border station about 30 miles north of Watertown, N.Y., Reuters reported.
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 Canadian government.
Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney’s spokeswoman, Alexis Pavlich, told The Star newspaper in an emailed statement that U.S. military personnel who had moved to Canada to avoid being deployed to Iraq were “not genuine refugees under the internationally accepted meaning of the term.”
“These unfounded claims clog up our system for genuine refugees who are actually fleeing persecution,” she added.
September 21, 2012, 7:07pm / 8