Following the Death of Jimmy Aldaoud, House Democrats Call on POTUS to End Deportations of Iraqi Nationals

August 13, 2019
Press Release
In a letter sent today, Congressman Andy Levin and 40 House Democrats called on President Trump to prevent further deaths and stop deporting Iraqi nationals.

Congressman Andy Levin and 40 House Democrats today wrote to President Trump imploring him to end the practice of detaining and deporting Iraqi nationals living in the United States. The letter follows the death of Jimmy Aldaoud, an Iraqi national who was deported to Iraq in June and died last week of a diabetic crisis.

Signers of the letter include:

Alma Adams (NC-12), Don Beyer (VA-08), André Carson (IN-07), Steve Cohen (TB-09), TJ Cox (CA-21), Susan Davis (CA-53), Diana DeGette (CO-01), Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11), Ted Deutch (FL-22), Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Lloyd Doggett (TX-35), Anna Eshoo (CA-18), Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04), Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15), Al Green (TX-09), Raúl Grijalva (AZ-03), Deb Haaland (NM-01), Alcee Hastings (FL-20), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Dan Kildee (MI-05), Brenda Lawrence (MI-14), Ted Lieu (CA-33), Betty McCollum (MN-04), Jim McGovern (MA-02), Gwen Moore (WI-04), Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (FL-26), Jerry Nadler (NY-10), Grace Napolitano (CA-32), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Bill Pascrell (NJ-09), David Price (NC-04), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Elissa Slotkin (MI-08), Haley Stevens (MI-11), Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), Juan Vargas (CA-51), Marc Veasey (TX-33), Nydia Velázquez (NY-07) and Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12).

See the signed letter here, and read the text below:

Dear President Trump,

We write to express our outrage and grief regarding the death of Jimmy Aldaoud, a Michigan man who was deported to Iraq in June and died on August 6th of a diabetic crisis.

Jimmy, who lived with both diabetes and paranoid schizophrenia, was brought to America as a toddler, had never been to Iraq, spoke no Arabic, and was deported without identification, money or a sufficient supply of insulin. He already faced tremendous danger in a country that was completely foreign to him, as he was entirely Americanized and a Chaldean Christian, a religious minority that is highly persecuted in Iraq. However, to force a man living with chronic illnesses into an unknown country without adequate access to life-sustaining medicine is nothing short of a death sentence. Jimmy’s death was a direct and predictable result of his deportation, and we are horrified that this cruelty was perpetrated on our watch.

A decision earlier this year by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals allowed Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to begin the detention and deportation of Iraqi nationals like Jimmy – people who, in many cases, came to the U.S. as children and know no other home. Members of Congress from both parties have repeatedly called on your Administration to halt these detentions and deportations:

  • In April, more than 20 members of Congress from across the country wrote to the Department of Homeland Security and ICE requesting deferral of detention and deportation of affected Iraqi nationals.
  • Also in April, Representatives Andy Levin (D-MI-09), John R. Moolenaar (R-MI-04), Elissa Slotkin (D-MI-08), and Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE-01) passed the letter on to Vice President Mike Pence, who has advocated for the protection of Christians abroad, following news of the departures of DHS and ICE leadership.
  • In June, Representatives Levin and Moolenaar asked for intervention from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has personally acknowledged the threats faced by religious minorities in Iraq.

All of these requests have gone unanswered beyond a cursory acknowledgment. Your Administration’s total failure to act calls into question its stated interest in protecting religious minorities, especially Christians, from persecution, and underscores the horrific consequences of your immigration policies.

National attention is now focused on Jimmy’s heartbreaking story. It is incumbent upon us to act, in this moment of tragedy, to ensure that this never happens again. If your Administration continues to deport Iraqi nationals, it knowingly and willingly risks more preventable deaths. As such, we implore you to end the detention and deportation of Iraqi nationals living in the United States without delay.

We look forward to your timely response.