33-year-old Halima Abdi faced forceful deportation from Edmonton, Canada, after a 15-month struggle to remain with her husband. Her fight against deportation led her to take extreme measures, including going into hiding to protect her children.
This resulted in Canadian authorities issuing a warrant for her arrest. In October 2022, police officers finally caught up with Halima and briefly detained her.
Halima Abdi fled Kenya for the US in February 2017 before making the journey to Canada. She was escaping the extra-judicial killings of Somalis in Kenya, alleging that special operatives had killed her brother.
While living in Canada, Halima Abdi met Fowsi Abdi Yusuf, a man she had known in Kenya. They got married in 2018 and submitted a spousal sponsorship application, and had three children together.
When an arrest warrant was issued for her, Halima cited the well-being of her children and subsequently went into hiding until she was apprehended by Edmonton officers.
Speaking to CBC News in 2022, Halima asserted that she was determined to stay in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.
“I cried for three months when I was hiding. So the tears have all dried away,” she said.
With the arrest and the deportation ticket already processed, Halima could only wait to see what fate had in store for her in Kenya. Canadian immigration officers had maintained that her life was not at risk, hence there was no need to grant her a refugee pass.
Fortunately, luck was on her side, and Halima Abdi never boarded the flight to Nairobi, Kenya. All smiles on her face, she received news that her deportation had been cancelled by the authorities.
Upon further clarification, a statement was issued, noting that Halima Abdi was set to be granted a temporary resident permit and a work permit.
“…after the issuance of a temporary resident permit and a work permit was authorized, ensuring she can continue to stay in the country for a period of 2 years, and allowing for the processing of her pending application,” the statement read in part.
The Kenyan woman expressed her thrill at the turn of events, stating that this was a life-changing moment for her, now that she would be closer to her family in Canada.
“I was so relieved…it was a miracle,” she said.
According to a CBC News report, efforts by the Kenyan community in Canada, business leaders, and the Canadian Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry lobbied against her deportation.
They pleaded with the government to reconsider her deportation as it would put her children at mental health risk.