A man from Detroit who has lived in the United States since he was an infant, died earlier this week due to unavailability of diabetes medication in Iraq shortly after the US administration deported him.
Jimmy Aldaoud, died after he was unable to obtain insulin to treat his diabetes, his immigration lawyer Edward Bajoka said.
Aldaoud who had multiple criminal charges against him was deported to Iraq in June where he didn't know the language nor had any family or contact. His body was found on Tuesday at an apartment he shared with another person who was deported from the US.
"He was not able to get insulin in Iraq. That was essentially the cause of his death," Bajoka told CNN. "This death was completely preventable. It did not have to happen. The death has been devastating to Jimmy's family and to the community."
The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) stated that Aldaoud's convictions spanning over two decades included assault with a dangerous weapon, domestic violence, and home invasion.
He later fled from ICE's non-custodial supervision program and was at large for four months before he was arrested again on suspicion of theft. The agency deported him to Iraq with reported supplies of medicine "to ensure continuity of care", according to the BBC.
However, Bajoka said that Aldaoud was "diabetic, and they deported him with no insulin, no medication. They picked him up, and with no warning to him or his family, put him in jail and a few weeks later he was on a plane."
In a video posted by Bajoka, around three weeks after the 41-year old was deported to Baghdad, Aldaoud says: "I begged them. I said, 'Please, I've never seen that country. I've never been there...They forced me. I'm here now, and I don't understand the language. I've been sleeping in the streets. I'm diabetic. I take insulin shots. I've been throwing up, throwing up, sleeping in the streets. I've got nothing to eat."
This video is of Jimmy taken in Baghdad two weeks after his deportation. I’m sharing with permission from Jimmy’s lawyers. Jimmy has been in the US since he was 6mo old—he was born in a refugee camp in Greece to Iraqi Christian parents. RIP#JimmyAldaoud https://t.co/1182x6GRAY pic.twitter.com/KF8RUOtKiH— Mari Manoogian (@MariManoogian) August 8, 2019
His lawyer revealed that Aldaoud was born in a refugee camp in Greece. While his father was a legal refugee who came to the US in 1979, Jimmy Aldaoud was six months old at the time. Bajoka also confirmed that except him, his entire family including his now-deceased parents and three sisters had US citizenship.
Aldaoud also suffered from severe mental health conditions that contributed to the various criminal convictions, Bajoka told CNN. "He had severe mental health issues. He was bipolar, schizophrenic, suffered from severe depression and anxiety," Bajoka said. "That's ultimately what led to his trouble with the law, and ultimately what led to his deportation."
Human Rights Watch said that Aldaoud's death is a "shocking but not unpredictable result of cruel US immigration policies."
It is reported that his family will be taking legal actions. Michigan's Democratic Representative Andy Levin is also working with the family to get his body back to the US for burial.
The Trump administration's crackdown on Iraqi immigrants began in 2017, especially Iraqi Chaldean Catholics in Michigan. Last month it was reported that the government is attempting to deport 1,400 Iraqi nationals with criminal records living in Detroit.
The mass deportation is part of a deal between the US and Iraq on conditions that the US would not impose a travel ban on the country.
Subsequently, Iraq's travel ban was removed "to enhance travel documentation, information sharing, and the return of Iraqi nationals subject to final orders of removal," according to an order by the Trump administration order, reported Reuters.
However, Chaldeans have said that the move was a "betrayal" of Trump's electoral promises as the community had largely voted for Trump in his 2016 presidential campaign.
The Guardian reported that Trump received the maximum votes from the community in the state of Michigan where he won by only 10,000 votes in 2016. His support, "Chaldeans For Trump", stemmed by painting himself as a "saviour" as he promised to give justice to the persecuted Christians.
Out of the 1,400 Iraqi nationals facing deportation, around 800 have criminal records but convicted of crimes which have occurred decades ago, said the UK newspaper.
The American Civil Liberties Union has said that the persecuted Iraqi nationals deserved new hearings in front of immigration judges because of the danger deportation to countries like Iraq poses. The non-profit organisation argued that while the US law allows deportation of those who commit certain crimes, it also prohibits ICE to deport individuals to countries where they will be tortured or killed.