Inclusion Media release Racism

News release: The case of Abdoul Abdi

Abdoulkader Abdi came to Canada at the age of six, with his sister and two aunts, as jointly-sponsored refugees who fled Somalia.

A photo of Abdoul Abdi used in his childhood residency application. (Toronto Star/ supplied photo)

Shortly after arriving, Abdoul and his sister were apprehended by the Department of Community Services (DCS), which is responsible for child protection in Nova Scotia. He became a permanent ward of the state at age seven.

In the first eight years that Abdoul was in care he was housed in 20 different placements. The longest placement was a three-year period with a foster family who he considered abusive.

When Abdoul became a permanent ward of the state his family lost the legal authority to apply for citizenship on his behalf, His aunts became Canadian citizens. Abdoul and his sister did not.

DCS did not make a citizenship application for either child. The Deputy Minister of DCS recenty advised that DCS has no policies for children in its care who are non-citizens. DCS does not anticipate fixing this “policy gap” until March 2019.

As a teenager Abdoul began having conflicts with the law. This is a phenomenon called crossover that affects children in care more frequently than others.

At the age of 20 Abdoul pled guilty to aggravated assault and other charges. He was sentenced to 4.5 years in jail. As a result he was deemed criminally inadmissible to Canada.

The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness is actively seeking to strip Abdoul of his permanent residence so that he can be deported to either Somalia or Saudi Arabia. Abdoul has never lived in Somalia and only lived in Saudi Arabia until he was two.

Abdoul would be at significant risk in both countries. He has no family connections in either country, does not speak the language, and does not know the local culture.

Deportation would also separate Abdoul from his entire family who are all in Canada – his Canadian-born daughter, his niece, his sister and his two aunts.

The Federal Court recently overturned the Minister’s decision to refer Abdoul to the Immigration Division for an admissibility hearing – a process that will automatically result in loss of status with no right of appeal,

The Minister could issue a warning letter to Abdoul, but instead continues to seek deportation, even though this would violate Canada’s international human rights obligations.     

Talking point

  • Black children are more likely to be apprehended by Children’s Services and more likely to come into conflict with the law.
  • Black adults are over-represented in the criminal justice system.
  • This systemic racism in Canada makes non-citizen children particularly vulnerable to the apprehension, incarceration, and deportation pipeline.
  • Canada has an international human rights obligation to provide special protection to non-citizen children in care.
  • Special protection was not provided to Abdoul, instead he was denied citizenship through the state’s inaction; he would have become a citizen if he was not apprehended.
  • It would violate Canada’s international human rights obligations to deport Abdoul or others like him.
  • The minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness has the discretion not to deport Abdoul and should exercise that discretion in Abdoul’s favour.

Demands of the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

1 –  Acknowledge that Canada has an international human rights obligation to provide special protection for non-citizenship children in care;

2 – Ensure that all non-citizen children who are permanently in care are provided Canadian citizenship;

3 – Acknowledge that Canada has an international human rights obligation not to deport long-term permanent residents who came to Canada as young children and were denied citizenship by the inaction of Children’s Services and Canada; and

4 – Halt the deportation of all former children in care who were denied the protections of citizenship and became inadmissible to Canada.


Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
Honourable Ahmed D. Hussen MP
365 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 1L1

email: Minister@CIC.GC.CA
Telephone: 613-954-1064
Fax: 613-952-5533

Minister of Public Safety
Honourable Ralph Goodale
House of Commons
Ottawa, Canada, K1A 0A6

email :
Phone: 613-944-4875 or 1-800-830-3118
Fax: 613-954-5186

Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould
284 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0H8

Email: MCU@Justice.GC.Ca

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