[St-Hilaire, NB, January 8, 2018] – Abdoulkader Abdi, a former child refugee and a long-term permanent resident of Canada, has lost his detention review hearing before the Immigration Division. As a result, he will likely remain detained at the Madawaska Regional Correctional Centre in St-Hiliare, NB, where he is currently being held in segregation.
Counsel for the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness objected to postponing the admissibility hearing until after the Federal Court has resolved Mr. Abdi’s ongoing court case. The Immigration Division accepted this objection and decided that an admissibility hearing would proceed even though a successful court decision would invalidate any decision reached by the Immigration Division. Mr. Abdi had already won once at the Federal Court in October 2017, overturning the Minister’s earlier decision.
The Immigration Division indicated it could not consider whether Mr. Abdi had been unlawfully and arbitrarily detained. Mr. Abdi’s lawyer raised this issue because the decision to arrest or “gate” Mr. Abdi upon his release was made by the same Canada Border Services Agency official whose previous decision was deemed unreasonable by the Federal Court and overturned.
After hearing from Mr. Abdi, who begged the Immigration Division to “look past my past and at the human sitting in front of you,” the Division concluded that Mr. Abdi was a danger to the public and unlikely to appear for an admissibility hearing.
The Immigration Division held it was not required to follow the Correctional Service of Canada’s (CSC) decision to release Mr. Abdi because the CSC takes rehabilitation and other factors into consideration whereas the Immigration Division does not. The Immigration Division also reasoned that Mr. Abdi lacks a strong system of community supports to ensure his compliance with release conditions, circumstances that are directly the result of Mr. Abdi growing up in the child welfare system.
At the Minister’s request, the Immigration Division scheduled an admissibility hearing this past Friday (Jan. 5) for Monday morning (Jan. 8). “This is an extremely short turnaround time,” said Mr. Abdi’s lawyer, Benjamin Perryman, “for a case that is complex and will result in the loss of rights.”
“It is also concerning that the Minister and the Immigration Division are barging ahead with an admissibility hearing because the Division does not have jurisdiction to consider the Charter and international human rights law issues that are raised in this case,” said Perryman. “Those issues arise from the fact that Mr. Abdi is facing deportation because he is a non-citizen and he is a non-citizen because children’s services failed to apply for citizenship on his behalf.”
The date for Mr. Abdi’s admissibility hearing is not yet set. He will have a second detention review hearing on January 15, 2018 at 1:00pm (EST) in St-Hilaire, NB
Benjamin Perryman is a Barrister & Solicitor.