(D. M. N ) – A federal court is set to hear a judicial review in the case of former Somali child refugee Abdoul Abdi.
According to Benjamin Perryman, Abdi’s lawyer, a full oral hearing has been scheduled for May 29.
However, a deportation hearing is still scheduled to take place on Wednesday in Ontario.
Perryman says he hopes that the judicial review will make officials “press pause” on the deportation hearing until the judicial review is heard in federal court.
“It’s positive to have a date and to know that there will be a court hearing,” said Perryman, speaking to Global News on Tuesday evening.
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.
Abdi, who was not granted 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.
Sociologist Robert Wright said there should be a review of the treatment of black children and immigrants in Nova Scotia’s child welfare system.
“Though his [Abdi’s] fate seems now to be in the hands of federal public safety and immigration authorities, we must not forget that his troubles began through the systemic failures he experienced within the provincial child-welfare system,” said Wright.
Wright said Abdi entered provincial care shortly after arriving in Canada at the age of six. He was subsequently shifted 31 times between foster homes, while losing his native language and developing behavioural problems that were not adequately treated, he said.
Those problems led to problems with the justice system, where the earlier failure to secure citizenship now means he faces deportation.
— With files from The Canadian Press