Somali-born lawyer, Ahmed Hussen, named new Canadian Immigration Minister

Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban

Ahmed Hussen, a lawyer and community activist born and raised in Somalia has been named the new Canadian Minister for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. He is currently the Member of Parliament for York South-Weston, Toronto, representing the ruling Liberal Party of Canada.

His appointment was announced by the office of the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau on Tuesday. Hussen and other appointees in Trudeau’s cabinet reshuffle were sworn in same day.


Born and raised in Somalia, he immigrated to Canada in 1993 where he settled in the area known as Regent Park and subsequently began community service there.

In 2002, he co-founded the Regent Park Community Council and was able to secure a $500 million revitalization project for Regent Park, all while ensuring the interests of the area’s nearly 15,000 residents were protected.

‘‘In 2002, he co-founded the Regent Park Community Council and was able to secure a $500 million revitalization project for Regent Park, all while ensuring the interests of the area’s nearly 15,000 residents were protected,’‘ the PM’s website said about him.

Ahmed also served as the National leader of the Canadian Somali Congress – a community based group that champions the interest of Somalis by engaging the Canadian authorities whiles also at it, strengthening civic engagement and integration.

He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the York University and his Law degree from the University of Ottawa. Ahmed is fluent in English, Somali and Swahili.

Ahmed is the second Somali-born legislator to make the news in the Americas recently, Ilhan Omar, the first Somali-American legislator was also sworn into office after winning elections last November. Ilhan made history by winning in a State House race to serve the people of Minnesota.

She stood on the ticket of the Democratic Farmer Labour (DFL) – affiliated to the Democratic Party, in Minneapolis District, defeating the Republican opposition.


She is a lawmaker in the Minnesota House of Representative for District 60B. Her legislative area comprises parts of the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood, south-east Minneapolis and the University of Minnesota.

As per his mandate letter as Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship signed by PM Trudeau, Ahmed and his team’s top five tasks include the following:

1. Lead government-wide efforts to resettle 25,000 refugees from Syria in the coming months.
2. As part of the Annual Immigration Levels Plan for 2016, bring forward a proposal to double the number of entry applications for parents and grandparents of immigrants to 10,000 a year.
3. Give additional points under the Entry Express system to provide more opportunities for applicants who have Canadian siblings.
4. Increase the maximum age for dependents to 22, from 19, to allow more Canadians to bring their children to Canada.
5. Bring forward a proposal regarding permanent residency for new spouses entering Canada.

Other appointees along with him included:

Karina Gould as Minister of democratic Institutions
Francois-Philippe Champagne as Minister of International Trade
Patricia A Hajdu as Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour
Maryam Monsef as Minister of Status of Women and
Chrystia Freeland as Minister of Foreign Affairs

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