A remains of 41-year-old diabetic man who was deported to Iraq—despite never having been there—have been returned to Michigan. Jimmy Aldaoud was found dead in Iraq on Aug. 7; his cause of death was “likely ... not being able to get his insulin,” according to a post by immigration attorney Edward A. Bajoka.
Aladaoud also dealt with schizophrenia, according to a release from Rep. Andy Levin (D-MI), whose office helped coordinate the return of Aladoud’s remains. There will be a private funeral next week.
Aldaoud was born in Greece and did not speak Arabic, according to Bajoka’s post. Additionally, Aldaoud was a member of the Chaldean minority who came to the country as a refugee with his family in 1979, CNN reported.
Aldaoud’s sisters released a statement through Levin’s office: “Jimmy was a sweet person with a good heart. He loved our mom, and we are comforted knowing that he will be laid to rest next to her. We hope Jimmy’s story opens people’s eyes and hearts to understanding that we should not be deporting people to their death overseas.”
Levin said in a statement that Aldaoud’s death a “tragedy.” Levin said he will continue his work to stop deportation of vulnerable Iraqis.
“Jimmy’s death was an avoidable, unnecessary and predictable tragedy,” Levin said in a statement. “My only hope is that Jimmy’s family feels some sense of relief now that his body can be buried in his home country, next to his mother. Unfortunately, I believe we can expect to learn of more stories like Jimmy’s if deportations of vulnerable Iraqi nationals continue.”