World

Body of deported Iraqi national who died two months after being deported from U.S. returning to Michigan

AP

The body of a 41-year-old Iraqi-born man who died in Baghdad after being deported from the U.S. in June will be returned to Michigan for burial.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Andy Levin of Michigan announced Friday that he and the family of Jimmy Al-Daoud had secured the return of his body. Levin said Al-Daoud died of a “diabetic crisis.”

Al-Daoud, who lived in the Detroit area, was among hundreds of Iraqi nationals who were arrested to enforce deportation orders. They had been allowed to stay in the U.S. for years because Iraq wouldn’t accept them.

Rita Bolis, Al-Daoud’s sister, said the family is “comforted that he will be laid to rest next to our mom.”

Levin said the Chaldean Community Foundation will cover the costs of repatriating Al-Daoud’s body. The transfer is expected to be completed this month.

Al-Daoud had lived in the U.S. since he was an infant, American Civil Liberties Union officials said Thursday.

Ann Mullen, a spokeswoman for the ACLU of Michigan, said Al-Daoud had also suffered from mental health issues. The ACLU sued in 2017 to suspend the deportations and allow people to return to immigration court to make new arguments about their safety in Iraq. The organization argued that their lives would be at risk if they were sent back to their native country.

“Jimmy’s death has devastated his family and us. We knew he would not survive if deported,” ACLU attorney Miriam Aukerman said in a statement. “What we don’t know is how many more people (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) will send to their deaths.”

Al-Daoud’s roughly 20 convictions over two decades include assault, domestic violence, home invasion and disorderly conduct, ICE officials said. They also said Al-Daoud was given enough “medicine to ensure continuity of care” when he was deported.

Al-Daoud was released from custody in December after a federal court ordered the release of Iraqi nationals who were slated for removal. ICE officials said he cut his GPS tether on the day of release, as others have done, and Al-Daoud was arrested by local police for larceny from a motor vehicle in April.

The ACLU said Al-Daoud’s parents fled Iraq when he was less than a year old. They went to Greece for a few months and applied for refugee status in the U.S., which was granted.

Detroit federal Judge Mark Goldsmith made a series of decisions in favor of the immigrants, and hundreds have benefited. But the appeals court said in December that Goldsmith exceeded his authority.

ACLU officials say they continue to represent the Iraqi nationals, many of whom appeared before immigration judges to present their cases.