Vicky Mochama: The voice of Metro News.
Vicky Mochama: When is enough enough in the case of Abdoul Abdi?
In this case where the Trudeau government can address the systemic loss of rights and freedoms for Black people, it is ensuring another Black kid loses his rights.
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Abdoul Abdi, the young Nova Scotia man facing deportation to Somalia, is challenging the process in Federal Court on Thursday. Abdi is making an emergency plea to pause the order he leave the country while his lawyer mounts a constitutional challenge to the looming deportation.
If not granted, the next step is a hearing in front of the Immigration and Refugee Board, where his criminal record dictates he automatically be deported, a decision he cannot appeal.
As a child in care, no one applied for Abdi's citizenship after he, his aunt and his sister came as refugees. Abdi and his lawyer are arguing that the deportation amounts to a loss of his rights.
If ordered out of the country, it will not be immediate. But it will put his gains — freedom and a job — at risk. The deportation order strips him of his permanent residence and thus his right to work. Without the job, he will likely be returned to prison, his lawyer said, because the job is a term of his release. It would make his constitutional case that much harder to make.
When I asked Abdoul Abdi last month about his biggest concerns, he worried that his case would be swept under the rug, saying, "It's not gonna stop with me. I'm not the first and I'm not the last."
Last year, the federal government put in place legislation that allowed children to apply for citizenship on their own. It did not waive the fee requirement, which remains an obstacle for many children. Still, that legislation does not apply retroactively to kids like Abdi, now 23.
"Why am I paying for something that happened when I was young, for something that I had no control over? Why aren't the people that neglected me as a child answering or stepping up for what they did? I stepped up for what I did. How come they're not stepping up?" He asks, concluding, "All I want is a correction or for them to leave me alone."
At two different town halls, the prime minister was asked about Abdi's case. Without noting any contradiction, he said that the immigration system could not be "arbitrary or based on popularity or political influence or protest" while insisting it is "a system that leaves room for compassion, for reflecting on individual cases." When Trudeau announced that Canada would recognize the UN Decade for People of African Descent, he noted that Black people in Canada have experienced racism, discrimination and cruelty.
Yet in this very case where his government can address the systemic loss of rights and freedoms for Black people, they are ensuring another Black kid loses his rights.
As Abdi says, "There's going to be other kids. When is enough enough?"