Canada rejects US deserter

March 25th, 2005  
Duty Honor Country

Topic: Canada rejects US deserter

March 26, 2005

TORONTO: Canada has denied refugee status to a US paratrooper who deserted from the 82nd Airborne Division to dodge combat in Iraq, in a decision that will dismay scores of other US deserters.

Jeremy Hinzman, 26, had filed for refugee protection, arguing he would face persecution over his political beliefs or cruel or unusual punishment if returned to the US.

But Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board found that Hinzman, his Laotian-born wife and young son, would benefit from fair and independent justice in the US.
March 25th, 2005  
I am glad they refused him. It's time to come back and face the music buddy!
March 26th, 2005  
A Can of Man
The act of one can disgrace his whole division.
March 26th, 2005  
Charge 7
Nah, the 82nd is far from disgraced. There'd have to be thousands of s like that before the honor of those brave souls had been besmerched to any significant degree.
March 26th, 2005  
Amen Brother, I've worked with the 82nd off and on for years, and there is a reason that they are called the "All Americans". A finer group is hard to find. Anywhere.
March 26th, 2005  
im happy that he was not turned away by canada. some people dont want to deal with the consequences of their decisions. people like him make me sick.
March 26th, 2005  
Not to defend the guy, but at least he has been over in this neck of the woods before. I abhor desertion. I'm sure there are other ways to get his point across. I don't know why his conscientious objector status was denied, but I'm sure it was considered. Maybe he should have considered a MOS change instead.
March 26th, 2005  
A Can of Man
More like he shouldn't have joined the Army!

I know the 82nd is still a fighting force of good reputation, but it no doubt sucks when you have news like this come out and turns out he was from your outfit.
March 26th, 2005  
Duty Honor Country
I found an editorial from Toronto detesting Canada's decision

Canada should put out the welcome mat
Let American war deserters

By any normal measure, Jeremy Hinzman is no refugee. The 26-year-old American does not face persecution if he returns to the United States. He faces court martial and, probably, jail for deserting his regiment in late 2003 just before it was deployed to Iraq. But that is not quite the same thing.

He is not likely to be prosecuted in the U.S. for his political or religious beliefs. He does not face torture. These are the criteria to qualify as a refugee under the United Nations convention that Canada follows

His lawyer, Jeffrey House, argues that Hinzman was being asked to participate in an illegal war (the invasion of Iraq) and that under the U.N. convention this, too, should allow him to qualify as a refugee.

But even that is not entirely convincing. By the time Hinzman was ordered to Iraq, the U.N. had granted the U.S.-led invaders of that country an imprimatur of respectability.

In any case, the point was moot since the immigration officer adjudicating the case refused to let House raise the argument.

Yesterday, to the surprise of few, the adjudicator ruled that Hinzman does not qualify as a refugee and must return home.

The case is being appealed to Federal Court. But I suspect there are few Canadians who truly believe that Hinzman fits the definition of a U.N. convention refugee.

That having been said, there are good reasons why he should be allowed at least the chance to stay.

The main one is that he would probably make a good citizen. Canada did well in the 1970s, when the last flood of war resisters both draft dodgers and deserters came across the border. Some went home eventually, but a good many including House stayed on.

Most integrated themselves easily and loyally into their adopted country.

Some became quite well-known, and well-respected, figures in Canadian society. Others pursued slightly more disreputable occupations in the media (no, I'm not one).

These draft dodgers and deserters did not come as refugees. They did not have to. In those days, foreigners were able to apply for landed immigrant status once they were in Canada.

House, for example, recounts how he crossed the border, applied to live here and within weeks after a medical check got his papers.

Hinzman would have done the same but for one thing. Since 1976, foreigners wishing to immigrate to Canada have been required to apply from outside the country.

For deserters, this is a non-starter. It would significantly increase their chances of getting nabbed.

So, here's an idea. Let's stop bending the very valuable category of U.N. convention refugee into pretzel shapes in order to accommodate people who realistically do not qualify. Let's create new categories instead for people like Hinzman.

During the Cold War, for instance, Canada created a special category for immigrants from Communist countries. We called them defectors and they were almost always allowed in.

So let's consider Hinzman and other U.S. deserters to be defectors from George W. Bush's America. Most Canadians don't agree with his war in Iraq and neither does the federal government. Why not follow through?

Let's allow these defectors to apply for permanent resident status not as refugees but as immigrants after they've crossed the border.

And then let's apply the same standards we would for any other immigrant: Do they have useful skills? Do they pass security checks? Are they free of criminal records?

If these standards were applied to Hinzman and his wife, social worker Nga Nguyen, they would almost certainly be accepted. So, why don't we let them make their case as potential immigrants? We can only win.

March 26th, 2005  
A Can of Man
That's for countries who are enemies of each other.
If this is the case, perhaps the US can hide criminals that only strike in Canada and not in the US