Canada suspends deportation of former child refugee after UN request

Abdilahi Elmi arrived in Canada as a child and eventually ended up in a foster home

Canadian officials will not be deporting a former Somali child refugee living in Edmonton following a request from the United Nations.

Abdilahi Elmi, 34, arrived in Canada as a child and eventually ended up in a foster home. However, he never became a permanent resident. In June, the Canada Border Services Agency determined that Elmi should be deported because of a criminal record that includes assault charges.

He was due to be deported back to Kismayo, Somalia on Monday. But on Friday, the United Nations called for a delay so that the UN human rights committee could review the case.

By the mid-afternoon, the CBSA sent an email to Elmi’s lawyer, Idowu Ohioze, informing him that his client’s deportation on Monday had been cancelled.

“He feels relieved,” Ohioze told CTVNews.ca by phone late Friday.

It’s unclear how long the UN investigation will take, but Ohioze says he expects Canadian officials will fully comply.

“It’s one victory, but the job is not done. We know it is an interim measure,” he said.

Advocates have argued that provincial officials failed to get the necessary paperwork done for Elmi when he was in foster care that would have granted him permanent residency.

Elmi’s case bears a strong similarity to Abdoul Abdi, another former child refugee who ended up in the child welfare system and never received permanent residency. A Federal Court judge in Halifax eventually set aside a decision to refer Abdi to deportation, despite several criminal convictions. His deportation was eventually stayed.


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