12 February 2018

Somalia: Emergency Request Made to Stop Deportation of Somali Refugee

The Federal Court will hear an emergency request Thursday in Halifax to stop the deportation of Abdoul Abdi, a 23-year-old former child refugee from Somalia.

The request comes after the federal minister of public safety refused to pause a deportation hearing while the court hears a constitutional challenge to the minister's decision to deport.

Abdi's lawyer Ben Perryman said an order to be deported would be harmful to his client because it would automatically strip his permanent resident status.

"There will be no review of the complexities of his case or the constitutional arguments he's making," Perryman said Sunday.

Abdi, who was recently released after 4.5 years in prison for crimes including aggravated assault, is at risk of being deported because he is not a Canadian citizen, despite living in the country most of his life.

He came to Nova Scotia as a refugee when he was six but was taken into foster care soon after and subsequently lived at more than two dozen foster homes.

It was the responsibility of the province's Department of Community Services to make an application for his citizenship, but that never happened.

Abdi's sister Fatouma Abdi told CBC News last month there's nothing back in Somalia for her brother, who doesn't speak the language or have family there.

Abdi's story has prompted the Nova Scotia to review cases of children who are in the care of the province and don't have citizenship.

No job, no healthcare

One of the conditions of Abdi's release was that he had to gain employment. Perryman said Abdi recently got a job working on a research project that examines crossover youth who have contact with both the child welfare system and the criminal justice system.

But that is in jeopardy now because if the Immigration and Refugee Board proceeds with a deportation hearing and decides he should be deported, Abdi would lose the right to work and the right to health care, Perryman said.

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