June 19, 2018

Free Abdoul Abdi!! The Canadian Civil Liberties Association is in court today fighting the deportation of child refugee Abdoul Abdi, who was never granted Canadian citizenship while growing up in foster care in Nova Scotia, being moved between foster homes 31 times.

The hearing is set for today (June 19, 2018) in Halifax. CCLA and Justice for Youth and Children (JFYC) are assisting the Court in determining whether and how the Minister’s delegate is required to weigh Charter rights, values and international law when exercising discretion under s. 44(2) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), particularly respecting Mr. Abdi’s right to equality under s. 15(1) of the Charter. In a nutshell, considering that the state did him wrong, and that Black youth from refugee backgrounds face systemic barriers, it is unjust for the state to now deport Abdoul Abdi.

As the Supreme Court recently confirmed, government decision-makers must appropriately consider Charter rights and values when they exercise their powers. Youth in care face many vulnerabilities including barriers to obtaining citizenship, which are even more significant for Black youth and youth who come from refugee backgrounds.

The government must not refer such vulnerable individuals to a hearing that will result in the loss of their permanent resident status and eventual deportation if doing so would result in inequality based on their race, age, family status and citizenship. That’s exactly what’s happening to Abdoul.

The CCLA submits, particularly where systemic barriers have been raised before the Minister’s delegate, the government must consider how their decision would exacerbate the pre-existing disadvantage of Black youth in care. We’ll also argue that the Court should acknowledge the systemic barriers affecting African Canadian youth, in assessing the reasonableness of the Minister’s delegate’s decision on judicial review.

CCLA is represented by Nasha Nijhawan and Kelly McMillan of Nijhawan McMillan Barristers.

Read CCLA’s factum here.

*The judicial review hearing is set for June 19, 2018 at 1:00pm in Courtroom 501 at the Law Courts (1815 Lower Water Street) in Halifax.

In the News:

Toronto Star: Former child refugee Abdoul Abdi’s judicial review set for today in Halifax
Toronto Star: Two groups seek intervener status at former child refugee Abdoul Abdi’s judicial review
Halifax Examiner: Abdoul Abdi’s defenders are “piling on,” complain government lawyers who are trying to deport him