Nairobi News


Kenyan mother of three gets last-minute reprieve from deportation in Canada

By Hilary Kimuyu November 20th, 2023 2 min read

A Kenyan woman living in Canada who was in 2022 forced to go into hiding after a deportation order was issued can now stay in the country after authorities cancelled her deportation in the eleventh hour.

For 15 long months, Halima Abdi has been fighting to stay in Canada with her husband and their three Canadian children.

After she went into hiding a warrant was issued for her arrest and was later arrested in October 2022. And was briefly detained and issued a one-way ticket back to Kenya on November 14.

But Abdi never boarded the flight. Hours before take-off, a border agent called and told her removal had been cancelled.

In a statement, the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) confirmed Abdi’s removal was cancelled “after the issuance of a temporary resident permit and a work permit were authorized, ensuring she can continue to stay in the country for a period of two years, and allowing for the processing of her pending application.”

Abdi’s plight drew the lobbying efforts of community and business leaders as well as the Canadian Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

The Academy warned the federal government’s approach to removal is putting the mental health of Canadian children at risk.

According to local media reports, the reprieve gives Abdi an opportunity to apply for permanent residency on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

This news comes as a huge relief for her family, who have endured immense hardship throughout the period when Canadian authorities were seeking to deport her.

Abdi flew from Kenya to the United States and then walked across the Canadian border on a cold morning in February 2017.

She was fleeing the extra-judicial killings of ethnic Somalis, which she says claimed the life of her brother and forced her family into hiding.

But Canadian immigration authorities at the time concluded her life was not at risk and rejected both her refugee claim and pre-removal risk assessment.

In Canada, her path crossed with Fowsi Abdi Yusuf, whom she’d known in Kenya.

The two married in 2018 and applied for her spousal sponsorship application. They have three children under the age of five, Mohamed, Mukhtar and Mubarak.

When a deportation order was issued to Abdi at the end of June 2022, she left her family and went into hiding.

Her three sons, aged two, four, and five, are still grappling with the emotional impact of the threats. In an interview with CBC, Abdi said that even stepping out of the room can trigger distress in her eldest son.

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