There’s a lot that’s just heartbreaking about this case. What can you do with a situation like this?
From The Washington Post:
Jimmy Aldaoud crouched on a sidewalk, miserable, hungry and short on insulin. The 41-year-old with diabetes and severe mental illness had spent nearly his whole life in Detroit until just over two months ago, when Immigration and Customs Enforcement deported him to Iraq — a country he’d never set foot in.
“I don’t understand the language,” Aldaoud said in an undated video shared to Facebook on Wednesday night. “I’m sleeping in the street. I’m diabetic. I take insulin shots. I’ve been throwing up, throwing up, sleeping in the street, trying to find something to eat. I’ve got nothing over here.”
This week, Aldaoud died in Baghdad, his family and the American Civil Liberties Union told Politico, which first reported on his case. They believe his inability to obtain insulin was the cause of death.
Aldaoud’s supporters say he never should have been sent to a country short on health care and racked with civil unrest, especially as he’s a member of the Chaldean Catholic community, which has faced violent persecution since the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq.
“This is a total failure of the whole immigration system,” Edward Bajoka, a Detroit immigration attorney and friend of Aldaoud’s family, told The Washington Post. “This guy should have been protected somewhere along the way.”
His death comes as the Trump administration ramps up immigration enforcement, a move highlighted on Wednesday as hundreds were arrested in a massive raid. While most of the national argument has focused on undocumented immigrants from Mexico and Central America, Aldaoud’s case shows the plight of hundreds of Iraqi Christians who could soon face a forced return to the dangerous nation.
“Jimmy Aldaoud … should have never been sent to Iraq,” Rep. Andy Levin (D-Mich.) told Politico. “My Republican colleagues and I have repeatedly called on the executive branch to cease deportation of such vulnerable people. Now, someone has died.”
…Aldaoud faced serious health problems, Bajoka said. In addition to diabetes, he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and struggled to live a normal life. His run-ins with the law were primarily due to his mental illness, said Bajoka, who never represented Aldaoud in court. The most serious came in 2012 when Aldaoud, described as homeless in local media reports, broke into a garage and stole power tools. He served 17 months on that home invasion conviction, Politico reported, and had a separate conviction for disorderly conduct.
He wasn’t a U.S. citizen, so those criminal convictions made him eligible to be deported.
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him …
St. Dymphna, protect all who are despairing, troubled, anxious or lost; by your intercession, guide them to a place of light, comfort and hope …