TORONTO ó The Federal Court of Appeal says a Canadian immigration official failed to consider the hardships a high-profile American deserter in denying him permanent residence in Canada.
In a unanimous judgment Tuesday, the court called the immigration officer's rejection of Jeremy Hinzman's application "significantly flawed" and "unreasonable."
The court ruled that officials must take another look at Hinzman's application to be allowed to remain in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.
Hinzman was the first U.S. Iraq War resister to seek refuge in Canada.
He, along with his wife Nga Nguyen and their son Liam arrived in Canada on January 3, 2004.
Their daughter Meghan was born in Toronto on July 21, 2008.
The Federal Court of Appeal noted that Hinzman holds "strong moral and religious beliefs" against participation in war.
The immigration officer "had the duty to look at all of the appellants' personal circumstances, including Mr. Hinzman's beliefs and motivations," the court said.
"This decision is important for all Iraq War resisters in Canada," said Michelle Robidoux, spokeswoman for the War Resisters Support Campaign. "The Federal Court of Appeal has clearly said that immigration officers can no longer ignore the sincerely held beliefs of these soldiers."
Hinzman, of Rapid City, S.D., was a former U.S. Army specialist from the 82nd Airborne Division in Fort Bragg, N.C.
And regardless if he wouldn't have faced jail time and only have to deal with a court martial with a dishonorable discharge, standing up for his beliefs is honorable and is a direct part of what our country's are supposed to be all about and are supposed to defend.
Even if he didn't face jail and he and his family were set free back in the US, what kind of life do any of us here expect he and his family would have down there surrounded by many who think they're traitors?
Regardless of one's views on Iraq and War Resisters/Deserters, everyone should be able to agree that their lives in the US are truly over and they'd have no future there, thus allowing them to stay here is the only fair and decent thing to do for them.
It's not like they were criminals who raped and murdered or dealt in drugs.... he chose not to go to another country and kill people he felt didn't deserve it and never did anything to his country.
Now that this decision has been made, I wonder how many more US soldiers may flood over our borders?