Monday February 12, 2018
Abdoul Abdi leaves Halifax provincial court in December 2013. The immigrant and former Nova Scotia foster child is living at a Toronto-area halfway house and is fighting to stay in Canada. (FILE)
The Federal Court has agreed to hold an emergency hearing in the case of Abdoul Abdi, a former child refugee facing deportation to Somalia.
Abdi’s lawyer, Benjamin Perryman, issued a statement Sunday confirming the court will hear an emergency request to temporarily stop halt his deportation Thursday in Halifax.
According to Perryman, Abdi asked Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale to pause his deportation hearing with the Immigration and Refugee Board while he seeks a constitutional challenge in Federal Court of the minister’s decision decision to deport him.
Perryman said the minister refused this request and instead asked the Immigration and Refugee Board to proceed with a deportation hearing.
Abdi came to Nova Scotia as a child refugee from Somalia with his sister and two aunts when he was six, but he was soon taken from his family and spent most of his childhood in foster care.
During that time, Abdi had permanent resident status but no one applied for citizenship on his behalf. His advocates say that’s something that, as a ward of the state, should have been done by the Nova Scotia Department of Community Services.
Abdi was convicted of aggravated assault in 2014 and sentenced to almost five years in prison. In July 2016, he was deemed inadmissible to Canada by the Canadian Border Services Agency, which can happen to non-citizens found guilty of serious crimes resulting in sentences of six months or more.
Abdi fought that ruling in Federal Court. In October a Federal Court judge overturned the 2016 decision, referring the case back to the CBSA.
But in January the CBSA again deemed him inadmissible to Canada and the agency continues to seek his deportation.
Abdi’s new admissibility hearing was scheduled for Jan. 8 but was postponed. He has since received a notice to appear before the Immigration and Refugee Board on March 7.
The board is not allowed to review the minister’s deportation decision, Perryman said, and must issue a deportation order in Abdi’s circumstances. There is no right of appeal.
Abdi and his lawyer are waiting to hear if a second Federal Court intervention, a constitutional challenge of the government’s decision to deport, will be heard.
Abdi has lived at a halfway house in Toronto since being released from segregated immigration detention last month. He will stay there until his sentence ends in late 2019 or he is deported to Somalia, a volatile and dangerous country that he hasn’t visited since he was a young child.
Since his release from prison, Abdi has received a job offer working in an advisory role helping youth in the foster care system.
“A deportation order automatically strips Mr. Abdi of his permanent resident status, including the right to work and the right to health care,” Perryman said in his statement Sunday. “As a result, Mr. Abdi will be unable to continue in his new job. There is a significant risk he will be returned to prison because working is a condition of his release.
“Mr. Abdi argues he will be irreparably harmed if he is stripped of his rights before having the merits of his court case decided. He won his first court challenge in October and believes his current case will also be successful.”