The story of Jimmy Aldaoud demonstrates, once again, the horror of America’s decades-old system of immigration controls. Aldaoud was brought to the United States as an infant. Unlike his two sisters, who were born here in the United States, Jimmy never became a U.S. citizen and remained instead a “permanent resident.” He had a tough life growing up, struggling with severe mental illness, specifically paranoid schizophrenia, and homelessness, especially since his dad kicked him out of the house when he was 16. He worked odd jobs and, over the years, got convicted of several assaults, which made him deportable.
Aldaoud’s parents were Iraqi citizens, which made him an Iraqi citizen. That’s where U.S. officials forcibly deported him — to Iraq, a country he had never been to. He had spent his entire life in Detroit. He didn’t speak Arabic. He had no way of knowing how to navigate a country that the U.S. government tore apart with its invasion and occupation. Getting a job was a virtual impossibility. So was any hope of voluntary charity in a country where many people are struggling to survive.
The other problem is that Aldaoud suffered from diabetes. When he arrived in Iraq, he had no ID and no ability to get medical care for his illness. As he told his family in a video after arriving in Iraq, “I don’t understand the language. 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.”
Two months after U.S. officials deported him to Iraq, Jimmy Aldaoud was dead. He was 41 years old. According to an article in the Washington Post, his family believes that his inability to get insulin caused his death.
Chalk it up as another victory in America’s decades-long, ongoing, never-ending system of immigration controls. But let’s give credit where credit is due. Although U.S. officials would not permit Jimmy Aldaoud to continue living here in the United States, they did permit his body to be returned to the United States. He is now buried next to his mother.