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Somali-born refugee to spend rest of jail sentence in halfway house

Last Updated Jan 15, 2018 at 2:54 pm EDT

Abdoul Abdi, the Somali-born refugee seemingly forgotten by the Nova Scotia child care system has been given a major victory.

He will be allowed to spend the remainder of his five-year jail sentence in a Toronto halfway house, instead of locked up in an immigration detention centre or jail.

The 24-year-old was scheduled to be released from a New Brunswick prison earlier this month, so he could serve the remainder of his sentence in a community residential facility, commonly known as a halfway house. But Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officials intervened, saying they would be deporting Abdi because his criminal record now made him inadmissible to Canada.

He arrived in Canada from Somalia as a convention refugee with this sisters and aunt, and grew up in the Nova Scotia child care system, living in more than 20 foster homes during his youth. No one applied for his Canadian citizenship.

Convicted of aggravated assault, assault against a peace officer, theft of a vehicle and dangerous driving as a result of a police chase, Abdi was to be held in custody pending a deportation hearing. He could lose his permanent residency and be forced to return to a country he hasn’t seen in nearly 20 years, where he doesn’t know the language and has few ties.

On Monday, he was granted a reprieve. While immigration determines whether or not he can stay in Canada, he will be allowed to serve the remainder of his sentence in the community. Once that sentence is complete in 2019, he will be bound by a strict curfew, required to live with his aunt, and report to CBSA every two months.

His aunt must also pay a $3000 bond — money she will lose if he breaks any of his conditions of release.

A deportation admissibility hearing date has not yet been set.