House Democrats Urge Trump to Stop Deporting Iraq Nationals After the Death of a Deported Michigan Man

August 13, 2019
In The News

House Democrats urged President Donald Trump to stop deporting Iraq nationals on Tuesday after a deported Michigan man died last week of a diabetic crisis.

In a letter signed by dozens of Democrats, the lawmakers expressed their "outrage and grief" over the death of Jimmy Aldaoud, a Michigan man who died last Tuesday after being deported to Iraq in June.

"Jimmy's death was a direct and predictable result of his deportation, and we are horrified that this cruelty was perpetrated on our watch," the lawmakers wrote, explaining that Aldaoud was "entirely Americanized and a Chaldean Christian, a religious minority that is highly persecuted in Iraq."

Aldaoud "lived with both diabetes and paranoid schizophrenia," the Democrats continued. "To force a man living with chronic illnesses into an unknown country without adequate access to life-sustaining medicine is nothing short of a death sentence."

The group of lawmakers, which includes New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and California congressman Ted Lieu, then implored the president to "end the detention and deportation of Iraqi nationals living in the United States without delay" in order to end the risk of "more preventable deaths."

"Your administration's total failure to act calls into question its stated interest in protecting religious minorities, especially Christians, from persecution, and underscores the horrific consequences of your immigration policies," they added.

Aldaoud, 41, appeared to have died after he was unable to obtain insulin in Iraq. Before he was deported to Iraq, Aldaoud had been living in America since he was a toddler and did not speak Arabic.

Most of the Iraqi nationals targeted for deportation belonged to the Chaldean Christian community, according to Politico. Many of the citizens in the group voted for Trump in 2016 because of his promises to protect Christians.

After Aldaoud's death last week, Edward Bajoka, an immigration lawyer who says he is close to the deceased's family, revealed that "the likely cause of death was not being able to get his insulin" in a Facebook post.

"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," Bajoka wrote. "Rest In Peace Jimmy. Your blood is on the hands of ICE and this administration."