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Chaldean Catholic dies after being deported to Iraq

Jimmy Aldaoud (screenshot)

Jimmy Aldaoud had never visited the country nor spoke any Arabic

A Chaldean Catholic who spent most of his life in Detroit has reportedly died after being deported to Iraq.

Jimmy Aldaoud, who had never lived in Iraq and did not speak Arabic, reportedly begged US Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) officials not to send him to a country he did not know. However, he was found dead in Baghdad on Wednesday where he been living as a vagrant for the past two months.

Aldaoud was born in Greece and moved to the US when he was just six months old. However, as Greece does not recognise birthright citizenship, he was considered a citizen of his parents’ country, Iraq.

Immigration attorney and friend of the Aldaoud family Edward Bajoka announced Jimmy’s death in a Facebook post. “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 born in Greece and had never been to Iraq,” he added. “He knew no one there. He did not speak Arabic. He was a member of the Chaldean minority group.”

Bajoka said Aldaoud was a paranoid schizophrenic, which was the main reason for the legal issues that led to his deportation.

“Rest In Peace Jimmy. Your blood is on the hands of ICE and this administration,” he added.

A spokesperson for ICE told Politico that Aldaoud had an “extensive criminal history,” including at least 20 convictions from 1998 to 2017. He had twice been ordered to be removed the United States, the agency added.

He had previously served 17 months in jail for breaking and entering, and had also been convicted of assault with a dangerous weapon, domestic violence and theft of personal property.

The spokesman added that Aldaoud was supplied “with a full complement of medicine“ when he was deported in June “to ensure continuity of care.”

Aldaoud was initially sent to Najaf before the American Civil Liberties Union and other organisations helped him move to Baghdad, which has a small Chaldean community.

However, in an undated video Aldaoud says he ended up on the streets without access to insulin. “I’ve been throwing up, throwing up, sleeping in the street, trying to find something to eat. I’ve got nothing over here,” he said.

Democrat Rep Andy Levin condemned the deportation. “Jimmy’s death was both horrific & avoidable,” he tweeted. “I introduced a bipartisan bill to prevent deportations like Jimmy’s, but make no mistake – the Trump Administration could end these cruelties with the stroke of a pen.”