Protesters will gather outside Fredericton MP Matt Decourcey’s office on Monday at 12 p.m. in solidarity with Abdoulkader Abdi, a former child refugee from Somalia who is facing deportation due to a lack of Canadian citizenship.
The Fredericton chapter of No One is Illegal, the gathering’s organizers, will deliver a letter to Decourcey—the same letter they sent to the Minister of Immigration. They will also be handing out informative pamphlets to passersby.
According to Tracy Glynn, the No One is Illegal’s media contact, the gathering is open to everyone—and despite the event occurring on a Monday, they’re hopeful they’ll be able to draw a large crowd of supporters.
“We’ve heard from Abdoul’s lawyer, as well as experience over the years doing these sort of actions in support of people who are facing deportation, said Glynn.” “Shows of community support are very important.”
At six years of age Abdi, now 24, came to Canada with his aunt and sister after his mother passed away in the refugee camp they were living in during the Somali Civil War. When he was eight, he and his sister Fatuma were taken from their aunt’s home by the Nova Scotia Department of Community Services and put into the foster care system.
“He’s somebody that went from foster home to foster home; in at least one case [he] was in abusive conditions—and if anything he needs support from the community right now,” Glynn said.
According to Glynn, it is the responsibility of Nova Scotia’s Department of Community Services to apply for Abdi’s Canadian citizenship—which it failed to do. However, Abdi was never informed that he wasn’t a real Canadian citizen and subsequently was not aware of the full repercussions for several interactions with the law throughout his teenage years.
“We don’t think that that’s any reason to deport him,” Glynn said. “An application for citizenship should have been made when he was a child, and we do know black people and children who have been in care are more likely to be found in incarceration in our systems—and so I think it’s very important that we support his stay here.”
After spending time in New Brunswick’s Madawaska Correctional Regional Centre, Abdi has recently been transferred to an immigration detention centre in Toronto where he will be facing deportation to Somalia—a country where he has no family, nor any knowledge of the language.
According to Glynn, Canada even has a travel advisory in effect for Somalia because of the current humanitarian crisis the nation is facing.
“He has a young daughter and all of his family is here in Canada, who he’s close to,” said Glynn.
Abdi’s next court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 15—the day of the planned gathering on 494 Queen Street, outside Decourcey’s office at noon.