Court to hear request to pause deportation

News Feb 15, 2018

HALIFAX — A Federal Court in Halifax is scheduled to hear a request today to temporarily stop the deportation of former Somali child refugee Abdoul Abdi.

Abdi, who never got Canadian citizenship while growing up in foster care in Nova Scotia, was detained by the Canada Border Services Agency after serving five years in prison for multiple offences, including aggravated assault.

Abdi's lawyer, Benjamin Perryman, says federal officials turned down the 24-year-old's request to press pause on a deportation hearing while he pursues a constitutional challenge.

He says Abdi then asked the Federal Court to temporarily halt the deportation hearing, and arguments will be heard today.

Perryman says Abdi will not be in court because he has to work — one of the conditions of his release to a halfway house in the Toronto area.

The lawyer says he will argue on Abdi's behalf that proceeding with a deportation hearing while Abdi's constitutional challenge is ongoing will cause irreparable harm.

"The harm Mr. Abdi is facing is the loss of the right to work and the disruption to his rehabilitation at a crucial time. Because working is a requirement for his release, he faces the prospect of losing his liberty if he's returned to prison because he cannot comply," said Perryman.

"I think this shows the government is continuing to try and keep Mr. Abdi in a place of vulnerability. He spent his entire childhood as a vulnerable child and now, just at the moment he's released and trying to reintegrate into society, Canada is trying to keep him in a place of legal limbo."

The lawyer says the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada has been asked to proceed with a deportation hearing, which will inevitably lead to a deportation order given the circumstances of Abdi's case.

"The only thing the board can do is look at is if he's committed the crimes — he has— and if he's a non-citizen — he is. Once those two boxes are checked, they must issue a deportation order," said Perryman.

He says Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale has the authority to temporarily halt the government's attempts to deport Abdi, but has refused to do so.

Perryman says Abdi is currently employed as a research assistant and community youth leader, working on a research project that studies "crossover youth" — young people who are involved with both the child welfare and criminal justice systems.

"I understand that his role is going to be working with a youth facilitator to organize meetings and gatherings of crossover youths to hear directly from them what types of resources, programs and issues face crossover youths," he said.

"Mr. Abdi was brought in on this project because of his lived experience. Because he himself was a crossover youth, he can relate to the experience that other children are going through."

The lawyer said the board has provided Abdi with a notice to appear on March 7, but he said it's not clear what will happen during that appearance.

He said Abdi's constitutional challenge is still in its early stages.

His case has become a rallying point for advocates who say it was wrong for the province to fail to apply for citizenship on his behalf.

Perryman has said deporting Abdi to Somalia — a country to which he has no ties and where he would be unable to care for his Canadian-born daughter — would be unfair.

Abdi was born in Saudi Arabia in 1993. After his parents divorced, his mother — fearing persecution if she returned to Somalia — fled to Djibouti, where the family obtained refugee status.

His biological mother died in the refugee camp when he was four, and two years later he came to Canada with his sister and aunts.

But shortly after arriving, the children were apprehended by the province of Nova Scotia. Abdi's aunt's efforts to regain custody were rejected, and her attempt to file a citizenship application for the children blocked.

By Aly Thomson, The Canadian Press

Court to hear request to pause deportation

News Feb 15, 2018

HALIFAX — A Federal Court in Halifax is scheduled to hear a request today to temporarily stop the deportation of former Somali child refugee Abdoul Abdi.

Abdi, who never got Canadian citizenship while growing up in foster care in Nova Scotia, was detained by the Canada Border Services Agency after serving five years in prison for multiple offences, including aggravated assault.

Abdi's lawyer, Benjamin Perryman, says federal officials turned down the 24-year-old's request to press pause on a deportation hearing while he pursues a constitutional challenge.

He says Abdi then asked the Federal Court to temporarily halt the deportation hearing, and arguments will be heard today.

Perryman says Abdi will not be in court because he has to work — one of the conditions of his release to a halfway house in the Toronto area.

The lawyer says he will argue on Abdi's behalf that proceeding with a deportation hearing while Abdi's constitutional challenge is ongoing will cause irreparable harm.

"The harm Mr. Abdi is facing is the loss of the right to work and the disruption to his rehabilitation at a crucial time. Because working is a requirement for his release, he faces the prospect of losing his liberty if he's returned to prison because he cannot comply," said Perryman.

"I think this shows the government is continuing to try and keep Mr. Abdi in a place of vulnerability. He spent his entire childhood as a vulnerable child and now, just at the moment he's released and trying to reintegrate into society, Canada is trying to keep him in a place of legal limbo."

The lawyer says the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada has been asked to proceed with a deportation hearing, which will inevitably lead to a deportation order given the circumstances of Abdi's case.

"The only thing the board can do is look at is if he's committed the crimes — he has— and if he's a non-citizen — he is. Once those two boxes are checked, they must issue a deportation order," said Perryman.

He says Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale has the authority to temporarily halt the government's attempts to deport Abdi, but has refused to do so.

Perryman says Abdi is currently employed as a research assistant and community youth leader, working on a research project that studies "crossover youth" — young people who are involved with both the child welfare and criminal justice systems.

"I understand that his role is going to be working with a youth facilitator to organize meetings and gatherings of crossover youths to hear directly from them what types of resources, programs and issues face crossover youths," he said.

"Mr. Abdi was brought in on this project because of his lived experience. Because he himself was a crossover youth, he can relate to the experience that other children are going through."

The lawyer said the board has provided Abdi with a notice to appear on March 7, but he said it's not clear what will happen during that appearance.

He said Abdi's constitutional challenge is still in its early stages.

His case has become a rallying point for advocates who say it was wrong for the province to fail to apply for citizenship on his behalf.

Perryman has said deporting Abdi to Somalia — a country to which he has no ties and where he would be unable to care for his Canadian-born daughter — would be unfair.

Abdi was born in Saudi Arabia in 1993. After his parents divorced, his mother — fearing persecution if she returned to Somalia — fled to Djibouti, where the family obtained refugee status.

His biological mother died in the refugee camp when he was four, and two years later he came to Canada with his sister and aunts.

But shortly after arriving, the children were apprehended by the province of Nova Scotia. Abdi's aunt's efforts to regain custody were rejected, and her attempt to file a citizenship application for the children blocked.

By Aly Thomson, The Canadian Press

Court to hear request to pause deportation

News Feb 15, 2018

HALIFAX — A Federal Court in Halifax is scheduled to hear a request today to temporarily stop the deportation of former Somali child refugee Abdoul Abdi.

Abdi, who never got Canadian citizenship while growing up in foster care in Nova Scotia, was detained by the Canada Border Services Agency after serving five years in prison for multiple offences, including aggravated assault.

Abdi's lawyer, Benjamin Perryman, says federal officials turned down the 24-year-old's request to press pause on a deportation hearing while he pursues a constitutional challenge.

He says Abdi then asked the Federal Court to temporarily halt the deportation hearing, and arguments will be heard today.

Perryman says Abdi will not be in court because he has to work — one of the conditions of his release to a halfway house in the Toronto area.

The lawyer says he will argue on Abdi's behalf that proceeding with a deportation hearing while Abdi's constitutional challenge is ongoing will cause irreparable harm.

"The harm Mr. Abdi is facing is the loss of the right to work and the disruption to his rehabilitation at a crucial time. Because working is a requirement for his release, he faces the prospect of losing his liberty if he's returned to prison because he cannot comply," said Perryman.

"I think this shows the government is continuing to try and keep Mr. Abdi in a place of vulnerability. He spent his entire childhood as a vulnerable child and now, just at the moment he's released and trying to reintegrate into society, Canada is trying to keep him in a place of legal limbo."

The lawyer says the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada has been asked to proceed with a deportation hearing, which will inevitably lead to a deportation order given the circumstances of Abdi's case.

"The only thing the board can do is look at is if he's committed the crimes — he has— and if he's a non-citizen — he is. Once those two boxes are checked, they must issue a deportation order," said Perryman.

He says Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale has the authority to temporarily halt the government's attempts to deport Abdi, but has refused to do so.

Perryman says Abdi is currently employed as a research assistant and community youth leader, working on a research project that studies "crossover youth" — young people who are involved with both the child welfare and criminal justice systems.

"I understand that his role is going to be working with a youth facilitator to organize meetings and gatherings of crossover youths to hear directly from them what types of resources, programs and issues face crossover youths," he said.

"Mr. Abdi was brought in on this project because of his lived experience. Because he himself was a crossover youth, he can relate to the experience that other children are going through."

The lawyer said the board has provided Abdi with a notice to appear on March 7, but he said it's not clear what will happen during that appearance.

He said Abdi's constitutional challenge is still in its early stages.

His case has become a rallying point for advocates who say it was wrong for the province to fail to apply for citizenship on his behalf.

Perryman has said deporting Abdi to Somalia — a country to which he has no ties and where he would be unable to care for his Canadian-born daughter — would be unfair.

Abdi was born in Saudi Arabia in 1993. After his parents divorced, his mother — fearing persecution if she returned to Somalia — fled to Djibouti, where the family obtained refugee status.

His biological mother died in the refugee camp when he was four, and two years later he came to Canada with his sister and aunts.

But shortly after arriving, the children were apprehended by the province of Nova Scotia. Abdi's aunt's efforts to regain custody were rejected, and her attempt to file a citizenship application for the children blocked.

By Aly Thomson, The Canadian Press