A Detroit man deported to a country he had never been to before died of complications from his type 1 diabetes after he was unable to access insulin. Jimmy Aldaoud was an Iraqi national, but was born in a refugee camp in Greece and was taken to the U.S. by his family as a six-month-old baby.
He had never been to Iraq and did not speak Arabic. He also had a life-threatening illness and required regular access to insulin to live. He was 41.
His name is Jimmy Aldaoud. He was a 41-year old Chaldean Catholic living in Detroit who came to the U.S. as an infant. He was deported to Iraq, where he never lived and didn't speak the language. He died on the street.— Michael Bayer (@mbayer1248) August 8, 2019
This Administration is not pro-lifehttps://t.co/p2CWoxZGXC
Before Aldaoud died, he was able to make a video pleading his case from Iraq in which he said he had been sleeping on the street, throwing up, and trying to get something to eat. People with type 1 diabetes, the more severe form of the disease, cannot produce insulin at all and must maintain their blood sugar with medication or risk falling into a coma and dying.
According to Edward A. Bajoka, an immigration attorney close to the Aldaoud family, Jimmy was also suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, which was the reason for his “legal troubles” that caused ICE to target him for deportation under Trump’s deportation-heavy policies.
“Rest In Peace Jimmy,” Bajoka wrote. “Your blood is on the hands of ICE and this administration.”
Jimmy was found dead today in Iraq. The likely cause of death was not being able to get his insulin. He is a diabetic....Posted by Edward A. Bajoka on Wednesday, August 7, 2019
Jimmy was also a Chaldean Catholic, part of a Christian minority group in Iraq that is at high risk of being targeted by ISIS for torture and murder. This kind of persecution is why many of them have fled to the U.S. over the years.
Unfortunately, the Trump administration has ordered over 1,000 Iraqi nationals in the country to be targeted for deportation, many of them Chaldean Catholics. Martin Manna of the Chaldean Community Foundation says that the community is terrified.
“There’s a tremendous amount of anxiety in the community,” he said. “Iraq’s not a safe place for many of the people who are being sent back.”
Immigrant advocates have been saying for years now that Trump’s focus on increasing deportations would get people killed. A report released in 2018 found more than 60 cases in which recently-deported individuals have been killed shortly after being forced back to counties they might have never really known, and deportations have only increased since then.
Rep. Andy Levin of Michigan penned a Twitter thread Wednesday lamenting Jimmy’s death and calling for the passage of the the Deferred Removal for Iraqi Nationals Including Minorities Act.
THREAD: Jimmy Aldaoud, a Chaldean resident of Oakland County, should have never been sent to Iraq.— Rep. Andy Levin (@RepAndyLevin) August 7, 2019
“My Republican colleagues and I have repeatedly called on the Executive Branch to cease deportation of such vulnerable people. Now, someone has died. We cannot wait one more day for action,” Levin wrote.
“I will put my full effort into advancing the Deferred Removal for Iraqi Nationals Including Minorities Act to provide a legislative solution to this crisis and help prevent further deportations that will inevitably endanger more lives.”