Jimmy Aldaoud, a Catholic who was deported to Iraq despite never having lived there and speaking no Arabic, has been found dead in Baghdad. Aldaoud was born in Greece but had moved to the US aged 6 months. He was officially a citizen of his parents’ country, Iraq.
Aldaoud, who had mental health problems and was diabetic, had reportedly been living on the streets.
US immigration authorities said Aldaoud had been convicted of several crimes.
What reporters said
Associated Press reported that in June, Aldaoud had said in a video message: “I’ve been sleeping in the streets. I’m diabetic. I take insulin shots. I’ve been throwing up, throwing up … trying to find something to eat. I got nothing over here.”
At The Intercept, Chris Gelardi, who had spoken to Aldaoud as well as to his friends and family, said that Aldaoud “had no idea how to survive in Iraq, and he was unprepared to make a run at it; he hadn’t known his deportation would come so soon, and officials with Immigration and Customs Enforcement wouldn’t let him call his family before they sent him off.”
The US administration is trying to deport more than 1,400 other Iraqis, mostly Chaldean Catholics like Aldaoud.
What commentators said
At the American Conservative, Rod Dreher said the deportation was indefensible. “Where are the Christian lawmakers and political operatives on this? Why are we Christian Americans not speaking out in defence of these vulnerable people?”
Dreher said he held “fairly strong views about immigration, and [does] not support the open-borders position of most Democrats”, but that having intervened militarily in the Middle East, the US had a responsibility to help those who had fled the resulting violence.
Representative Andy Levin, a Michigan Democrat, said: “My Republican colleagues and I have repeatedly called on the executive branch to cease deportation of such vulnerable people. Now, someone has died.”
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