The first female U.S. soldier who fled to Canada to avoid fighting in Iraq has won more time in her fight to make a home here with her family.
Kimberly Rivera, 26, celebrated an 11th hour stay from deportation Wednesday night flanked by a group of war resister supporters after she learned she'd won the reprieve. "This is a slight victory, because I don't have to go home (Thursday)," she told the group as she cradled her four-month old daughter.
"So I am very, very excited. I don't have to be handed over to authorities, so it gives me another day to fight." ...
The Federal Court of Canada granted Rivera the emergency stay, pending a decision on whether they'll review a decision by immigration officials that previously rejected her re-removal risk assessment.
The decision means the Mesquite, Texas woman, who has a husband and three children, will avoid potential time behind bars for the moment.
Had she been ordered out of the country, there is a possibility she would be court-martialed and sentenced to time in prison.
Rivera's lawyer, Alyssa Manning, cautioned the reprieve is only temporary.
"It is only for potentially a couple of weeks, at the most, maybe months," she said.
Rivera used the good news to draw attention to a non-binding motion adopted in the summer by all federal parties except the Conservatives.
It urged that U.S. military deserters be allowed to stay in Canada.
"The battle's not over, and we're still calling on the government to put forward this resolution," she said.
MP Olivia Chow, who will be re-introducing the motion Thursday in the Commons, also attended the celebration.
"I'm extremely pleased today to see that the Federal Court did the right thing to let her stay," she said.
"I just hope that Stephen Harper will also do the right thing."
Rivera, who previously served a tour of duty in Iraq in 2006, left her home in the U.S. and drove to Canada on Feb. 18, 2007.
She has previously said that the tour caused her to become disillusioned with the American mission there.
At least two other U.S. army deserters - Jeremy Hinzman and Patrick Hart - are currently facing deportation, having won temporary stays. They are among an estimated 250 U.S. war resisters who fled to Canada.
The first U.S. deserter to be ordered to leave the country, Robin Long, is now serving a 15-month sentence in a San Diego military prison.
There were also mentions in the Windsor Star and City News.
Both the Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail ignored the story, though the G&M did run the above Canadian Press story on its website.