Southeast Michigan man dies two months after deportation to Iraq | Michigan Radio
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Southeast Michigan man dies two months after deportation to Iraq

Aug 8, 2019

Credit U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

A Southeast Michigan man who was deported to Iraq died Tuesday in Baghdad. That's according to friends and family of the 41-year-old.

Jimmy Aldaoud was sent to Iraq in June.

Edward Bajoka is an immigration attorney and a family friend. He says Aldaoud had diabetes and mental health challenges. He also says he didn't speak any Arabic.

“Jimmy had never himself stepped foot on Iraqi soil. His entire family has been in the United States for 40 years. And he knew no one in that country,” Bajoka said.

Congressman Andy Levin (D-MI 9th District) said in a statement:

“Jimmy Aldaoud, a Chaldean resident of Oakland County, should have never been sent to Iraq. For many reasons, it was clear that deporting Jimmy to a country where he had never been, had no identification, had no family, had no knowledge of geography or customs, did not speak the language and ultimately, had no access to medical care, would put his life in extreme danger. Jimmy died tragically yesterday of a diabetic crisis. His death could have and should have been prevented, as his deportation was essentially a death sentence.

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. 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.

 I had the privilege of meeting Jimmy’s family earlier this year to hear firsthand their concerns for his safety, and about their efforts to ensure his care. Today, I grieve with them and recommit to preventing any further injustices.

 That begins with making sure that Jimmy can be afforded a proper Catholic burial. At the moment, Iraqi authorities will not release Jimmy’s body to a Catholic priest without extensive documentation from his family members in the U.S. This seems to be a cruel irony, indeed. I am working with the Iraqi government to make sure this process happens as quickly and smoothly as possible.”

Bajoka was a guest on Stateside Thursday.