Immigration

Jimmy Aldaoud had never been to Iraq, but was deported there. Months later he was dead

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Jimmy Aldaoud had never been to Iraq and didn't speak Arabic or Kurdish, but after being deported from the US - where he had spent all his life - he found himself living on the streets in Baghdad.

In an undated video posted to Facebook on Thursday, 41-year-old Jimmy Aldaoud can be seen sitting in the gutter of a Baghdad street.

"I was deported two-and-a-half weeks ago, I've been in the United States since I was six-months-old," the Iraqi national tells the camera.

"I don't understand the language, I've been sleeping in the street, I'm diabetic, I take insulin shots, I've been throwing up, throwing up, sleeping in the streets, trying to find something to eat. I've got nothing over here."

Just weeks after the video appears to have been shot, people close to Mr Aladaoud announced he had been found dead in Iraq, speculating the cause of death was likely a lack of insulin.

Immigration lawyer Edward Bajoka said Mr Aldaoud was born in a Greek refugee camp to Iraqi Christian parents before moving to the US as a baby, where lived his entire life.

In the video, Mr Aldaoud said just over two weeks earlier, US immigration agents had forced him to leave the country and fly to Iraq - a place he had never been. 

"He was born in Greece and had never been to Iraq. He knew no one there. He did not speak Arabic," Mr Bajoka wrote on Facebook.

"Rest in peace, Jimmy. Your blood is on the hands of ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and this administration."

Mr Aldaoud reportedly died after being deported to Iraq - a country he had never been to - under the Trump administration.
Mr Aldaoud reportedly died after being deported to Iraq - a country he had never been to - under the Trump administration.
AP

Mr Aldaoud was a member of the Chaldean minority group, which suffered displacement and persecution following the spread of IS in northern Iraq.

The death of Mr Aldaoud - who reportedly had an "extensive criminal history", according to a statement from ICE published by Politico - has once again drawn attention to the plight of Iraqis in the US under the Trump administration.

As part of a deal related to US President Donald Trump's travel ban on people from middle eastern countries, Iraq agreed to accept US deportees. This meant Iraqis who had been living in the country for decades, in some cases, with criminal histories were vulnerable for deportation.

Many targeted in the wake of the 2017 deal were Chaldean Catholics from Michigan, like Mr Aldaoud.

In his statement, Mr Bajoka said the 41-year-old suffered from a number of health conditions, including paranoid schizophrenia, which contributed to his criminal offending. 

Democratic Congressman Andy Levin said in a statement that he was "working around the clock" to ensure Mr Aldaoud's remains would be transported back to the US to be buried next to his mother in Michigan.

"Jimmy's death was both horrific and avoidable," he said.

"But make no mistake, the Trump Administration could end these cruelties with the stroke of a pen."

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