Suspect in Edmonton Attack Faced Deportation in U.S.

Paul Vieira and Vipal Monga, Wall Street Journal, October 4, 2017

A Somali refugee facing multiple charges in Canada over Saturday’s attack in Edmonton, Alberta was ordered deported from the U.S. by immigration authorities roughly a year before he was granted asylum in Canada.

In July, 2011, Abdulahi Hassan Sharif was held in custody at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center in San Diego. Two months later, a judge ordered him deported to Somalia, and Mr. Sharif waived his right to appeal, according to a statement from ICE. Mr. Sharif was later released but failed to report to ICE on a scheduled date in early 2012, and efforts to locate him were unsuccessful, ICE said.

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The information emerges as Mr. Sharif, 30, had his first court appearance in Edmonton on Tuesday. He faces multiple charges, including five counts of attempted murder, after he allegedly stabbed a police officer and struck four pedestrians while driving a small U Haul truck in Edmonton on Saturday night in what officials have called a terrorist attack. Edmonton police said it found an Islamic State flag in one of the vehicles he was driving that evening.

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Canadian officials said Mr. Sharif entered Canada from the U.S. through an undisclosed entry point in 2012, and later that year was granted refugee status by the country’s Immigration and Refugee Board. {snip}

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A spokesman for Canada’s Public Safety Minister, Ralph Goodale, said there was no information in Mr. Sharif’s application “that would have raised any red flags” when he entered Canada. {snip}

The spokesman added individuals being detained by immigration authorities in another country wouldn’t prevent them from making an asylum claim in Canada.

Yet the revelation Mr. Sharif had been ordered deported by the U.S. could further inflame tensions over the thousands of asylum seekers who have crossed into Canada from the U.S. in recent months. The surge, mostly along New York state’s border with Quebec, has set off clashes between pro and anti-immigration protesters and prompted officials to defend Canada’s asylum program and its vetting procedures.

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