/ January 9, 2009

Attention Deserters: Try Mexico

For years, crossing the border into Canada has meant one thing to draft resisters and deserters; freedom. Now, the attractively placed safe-haven appears to be not quite as friendly as it has in the past. Ever since the start of the Iraq war the Canadian government has been unsure about accepting deserters. Although they have opposed the war and the grounds for occupation from the start, they acknowledge the fact that the US entered Iraq on completely legal grounds leaving no legitimate reason to grant asylum. This time around there is no draft, no one is being forced to fight against their will, and Canada does not want to be the country who urges US soldiers to abandon their duties.
Now it’s up to the Canadian courts to determine what the appropriate action is on a case by case basis. They already sent one soldier back last year and have decided to do the same with a mother of three just this week. With over 200 American deserters now awaiting their hearings, it’s hard to say what makes one deserter more worthy of staying than another. The issue is one that Americans and Canadians fervently disagree on but no matter what their citizens think, the Canadian government is not willing to risk harboring criminals for a country that they want on their side.
Should Canada decide to deport all American deserters in the future, the former soldiers will then face the American judicial system and inevitably jail time. Those seeking asylum and advocates for their freedom are pleading with the Canadian courts to reconsider their previous decisions and take a more humane, instead of political, approach.

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