Abdoul Abdi supporters push for Nova Scotia to intervene in deportation case

The Somali refugee spent much of his childhood in Nova Scotia foster and groups homes. But the province never got him citizenship, and now he's facing deportation over crimes he's committed.

'He wasn't given a chance as a child, it's been 17 years of Abdoul facing abuse in many different ways'

Abdoul Abdi is shown Jan. 25 at the office of law professor Samer Muscati. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Family and friends of a Somali refugee who came to Nova Scotia as a child 17 years ago were at Province House Tuesday morning trying to get the Nova Scotia government to intervene in his deportation case.

Abdoul Abdi, 23, will be in Toronto on Wednesday for an Immigration and Review Board hearing where he could be ordered deported from Canada.

"I think it's unfair that they're trying to strip him of his permanent resident's card and that he can't have health care or work, even now that he has a job," said his sister Fatuma Abdi.. "He's trying to better himself but the government is moving him 10 steps back."

Shortly after his arrival as a six-year-old in Nova Scotia, Abdoul Abdi was taken into the care of child welfare. He never got Canadian citizenship while growing up in 31 foster care and group homes in the province.

He also been in trouble with the law, and was detained by the Canada Border Services Agency in January and then released to a halfway house after serving five years in prison for multiple offences, including aggravated assault.

El Jones, centre, speaks at a press conference Tuesday at the Nova Scotia Legislature in support of Abdoul Abdi. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

Social worker Robert Wright said he and Abdi's supporters are calling on Nova Scotia Community Services Minister Kelly Regan to advocate on his behalf with the federal public safety and immigration ministers.

The federal government has refused to pause Abdi's deportation proceedings, but still has the power to do so. It appears that is not likely to happen.

"We believe that Abdoul deserves a chance," activist El Jones said at a press conference held in the foyer of Province House. "He wasn't given a chance as a child, it's been 17 years of Abdoul facing abuse in many different ways."

The NDP will table legislation in Province House on Wednesday that would require the province to advocate for citizenship for any children in the care of the province who are not Canadian citizens.

Regan and Premier Stephen McNeil would not comment specifically on Abdi's case.

Other events were held Tuesday in Ottawa and Toronto as Abdi supporters demonstrated their feelings on what they are calling an inhumane deportation process.