By Eoin Higgins
A Detroit man who was born in Greece died Tuesday after being deported to Iraq, a country he had never been to and where he did not speak the language, making him one of the latest victims of President Donald Trump’s war on immigrants.
Jimmy Aldaoud, 41, likely died from complications due to diabetes, his lawyer Edward Bajoka confirmed in a Facebook post.
Bajoka detailed Aldaoud’s background and mental illness, and laid the blame for his death squarely at the feet of the White House:
Jimmy was found dead today in Iraq. The likely cause of death was not being able to get his insulin. He is a diabetic. 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. He was a member of the Chaldean minority group. He was a paranoid schizophrenic. His mental health was the primary reason for his legal issues that led to his deportation.
Rest In Peace Jimmy. Your blood is on the hands of ICE and this administration.
“The Trump administration deported a man to Iraq who was not born there, never lived there, he came to the US as a child, he spoke no Arabic, and had type 1 diabetes,” tweeted journalist Rula Jabreal. “He died.”
The Trump admin deported a man to Iraq who was not born there, never lived there, he came to the US as a child, he spoke no Arabic, & had type 1 diabetes…. He died.
The family wrote: “Your blood is on the hands of this administration.” https://t.co/uF2DpChezZ
— Rula Jebreal (@rulajebreal) August 8, 2019
In a statement, ACLU lawyer Miriam Aukerman said that Aldaoud’s death was preventable and a tragedy for Michigan’s Chaldean community.
“Jimmy’s death has devastated his family and us,” said Aukerman. “We knew he would not survive if deported.”
Aukerman added that Trump’s deportation policies are likely leading to more deaths that aren’t public.
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“What we don’t know is how many more people ICE will send to their deaths,” Aukerman said.
Progressives and Democrats reacted with anger and sorrow on social media to the news of Aldaoud’s death.
It was “cruelty for cruelty’s sake,” tweeted Annahar columnist Hisham Melhem.
“As if 41 years of mental illness, marginalization and diabetes are not cruel enough for Jimmy Aldaoud, America, in our name, exiled him to a home that was never a home, to die alone, destitute and broken,” said Melhem. “Not in our name.”
“The cruelty of this administration knows no bounds,” Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif,), who is running for president, said on Twitter Thursday.
Justice Democrats spokesman Waleed Shahid shared an undated video of Aldaoud on an Iraqi street talking about his confusion over the culture, language, and place he lived.
“Immigration agents pulled me over and said I’m going to Iraq,” Aldaoud said in the video. “I said, ‘I’ve never been there. I’ve been in this country my whole life, since pretty much birth.’”
This video is of Jimmy taken in Baghdad two weeks after his deportation. I’m sharing with permission from Jimmy’s lawyers. Jimmy has been in the US since he was 6mo old—he was born in a refugee camp in Greece to Iraqi Christian parents. RIP#JimmyAldaoud https://t.co/1182x6GRAY pic.twitter.com/KF8RUOtKiH
— Mari Manoogian (@MariManoogian) August 8, 2019
“Each day, we are made lower by this administration’s cruelty,” tweeted Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke.
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