On September 20, my husband and I, and our four young children, could be deported from Canada. Across the border, I would be taken into custody, separated from my family, and likely put in a military prison for years: all because I opposed the war in Iraq.
My name is Kimberly Rivera. I joined the U.S. Army when I was 24. At the time, I thought the war in Iraq was a good thing. I thought it would make our country safer and bring democracy to Iraq.
Once I was stationed in Iraq, I realized I had been lied to. I saw the true face of war: countless civilian casualties, and Iraqi children left devastated by loss and filled with fear. We were not bringing freedom to Iraq; we were bringing needless pain and suffering and death. How could I look my children in the eye and tell them to be good people, when I was contributing to causing harm and death to innocent people on the other side of the world?
As this became clear to me, my conscience would no longer let me participate in the war in Iraq.
In 2007, my family and I came to Canada, where I applied for refugee status. Since that time, I have become active in my community in the Parkdale neighbourhood of Toronto. I speak out against the war in Iraq - and for peace - at every opportunity. Mario and I now have four beautiful children, two of them born in Canada.
We ask for only one thing: to continue to live our lives in Canada. We want our children to grow up in a peaceful country that values tolerance, respect, and community. Please sign this letter asking Immigration Minister Jason Kenney to stop my deportation.
My family and I thank you for responding to our urgent request for help.
As you know, Ms. Rivera's application to remain in Canada has been denied and she has been told to leave Canada by September 20. I urge you to allow Ms. Rivera, her husband, and their four children (two of whom were born in Canada) to remain in Canada.
I am proud of Canada's history of offering refuge to people who could not in good conscience participate in war. From the Doukhobors to the Mennonites to the more than 50,000 Americans who came to Canada during the Vietnam War, Canada has opened its doors to people of conscience.
Like Ms. Rivera, many of those Vietnam-era war resisters had volunteered for the military. After seeing the reality of an unjust war, they determined they could not continue to participate. Canada accepted them, and Canada should accept Ms. Rivera.
In the U.S., Kimberly Rivera faces court martial, a felony conviction and military prison. A mother of four should not be imprisoned because she refused to participate in an immoral war. It is easily avoided.
I call on you to show compassion, and to respect the wishes of the majority of Canadians who want Canada to allow Iraq War resisters to stay. Please allow Ms. Rivera and her family to remain in Canada by granting their application to stay on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.