Posted on August 08, 2019 in Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Tess Waggoner (202) 429-9210 twaggoner@aaiusa.org

August 8, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C.- Yesterday, the Arab American Institute was horrified to learn about the death of Jimmy Aldaoud, an Arab American who was deported to Iraq, despite having never lived in the country. Having several chronic medical conditions, but unable to speak Arabic and having no family in the country, Jimmy died homeless on the streets of Baghdad. 

Jimmy did not have to die. He was likely deported pursuant to Executive Order 13768 which, among other things, attempts to strong arm countries to accept nationals deported from America, regardless of their connection to the country.  As the Trump administration began detaining and deporting Iraqi nationals, AAI Executive Director Maya Berry warned, “In many cases… these individuals don’t recognize or know the countries they are being sent to. They don’t speak the language or have familial connections because so many of them left these places when they were small children.”

Jimmy’s death shows how deadly this administration’s policies can be, which could be changed by a simple reversal of President Trump’s executive order and cruel enforcement decisions. In the vacuum of leadership from the White House, Representative Andy Levin introduced H.R.2537, the Deferred Removal for Iraqi Nationals Including Minorities Act of 2019, which seeks to avoid tragedies such as this. We thank Representative Levin and his efforts to repatriate Jimmy’s remains, in hopes of giving his family some measure of closure. 

We call on all members of Congress to exercise the important oversight so desperately needed in our immigration system, and to support H.R.2537 to halt the unnecessary and cruel deportations which directly led to the death of Jimmy Aldaoud.

We mourn with Jimmy’s loved ones and the broader Chaldean community in Michigan, and will continue to fight for humane policies which protect the lives of all migrants within our communities.

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