Rising in unity, several people wearing T-shirts spelling, “Free Abdoul,” sent a direct message to Ottawa over their concerns of a young man fighting to stay in Canada.
“We really wanted to showcase support, we really wanted to showcase to the public that we are here for Abdoul Abdi,” Zahra Dhubow said.
Abdi was a child refugee from Somalia who came to Nova Scotia with his sister.
They were both placed in foster care at an early age and shuffled through the system to many homes.
Despite being under provincial government care, the province never obtained Abdi’s citizenship.
Abdi ended up facing criminal charges when he was older for multiple offences and served a five-year prison sentence.
His sentence was completed in December 2017, but he was detained by the Canada Border Services Agency because he doesn’t have his citizenship.
He’s now in the middle of fighting a battle to stay in Canada so that he doesn’t get deported back to a country where his family feels his life would be in danger.
“It is unacceptable to see children in care who are let down by the system. Children who had the right to access citizenship and who missed that right, not because of the fault of their own but because of the system,” federal Minister of Immigration Ahmed Hussen said to a full crowd.
Although Hussen agreed that the system failed Abdi, he said he couldn’t speak about specifics regarding his case due to privacy concerns.
He did, however, say he was aware of the situation and acknowledged that there have been numerous times where deportation hearings were halted due to compassionate grounds.
“I have intervened in many, many cases, whereby we had to apply Canadian law but we also found that there were very credible, very reasonable humanitarian reasons and compassionate reasons why we should intervene and I’ve never hesitated to do that and we have stopped many deportations as a result of that,” Hussen said.
Abdi’s deportation hearing is scheduled for March 7.