Jimmy Aldaoud, a man the Trump administration deported to Baghdad, Iraq in June, died Tuesday, Politico reported Wednesday. The 41-year-old had been likely unable to access insulin to treat his diabetes in Iraq, according to people who knew him.
Immigration attorney Edward Bajoka posted on Facebook about Aldaoud’s death. He wrote:“He was forcefully deported to Iraq a couple of months ago. He was born in Greece and had never been to Iraq. He knew no one there. He did not speak Arabic.”
Aldaoud was an Iraqi national and a member of the Chaldean Catholic group. He was born in Greece and had lived in the U.S. for most of his life.
In a Facebook video, Aldaoud described his deportation: “Immigration agents pulled me over and said I’m going to Iraq,” he said. “I refused, I said, ‘I’ve never been there. I’ve been in this country my whole life, since pretty much birth.’… They refused to listen to me.”
“I begged them,” he said. “I said, ‘Please, I’ve never seen that country, I’ve never been there. However, they forced me. I’m here now. And I don’t understand the language... I’ve been sleeping in the street.’”
Aldaoud had serious health concerns including diabetes and schizophrenia, meaning that his deportation is a particularly stunning example of the Trump administration’s calculated cruelty toward vulnerable people.
Bajoka wrote: “He was a paranoid schizophrenic. His mental health was the primary reason for his legal issues that led to his deportation.”
“The likely cause of death was not being able to get his insulin,” he wrote.
A vulnerable person like Aldaoud would benefit from a policy allowing people in the U.S. to access healthcare regardless of citizenship status, an idea that has been floated by several Democratic candidates for president. When he was in clear need of help from a medical professional, though, government officials and law enforcement intervened to make his troubles exponentially worse.
Miriam Aukerman, an attorney with the ACLU of Michigan, said in a written statement: “Jimmy’s death has devastated his family and us. We knew he would not survive if deported. What we don’t know is how many more people ICE will send to their deaths.”
Rep. Andy Levin (D-Mich.) tweeted that Aldaoud should “never” have been deported to Iraq.
Martin Manna of the Chaldean Community Foundation in Michigan said that many people are concerned about whether they will be deported next.
“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.”
“Rest In Peace Jimmy,” Bajoka, the attorney, wrote. “Your blood is on the hands of ICE and this administration.”