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News > U.S.

Trump Travel Ban Prevents Yemeni Mother From Seeing Dying Son

  • Protesters against Trumps travel ban walk through the streets holding signs.

    Protesters against Trumps travel ban walk through the streets holding signs. | Photo: Reuters file

Published 18 December 2018

A Yemeni woman is prohibited from traveling to the United States to see her two-year-old boy dying from a brain disease due to the Trump travel ban. 

Two-year-old Abdullah Hassan is dying in an Oakland, California hospital while his Yemeni mother is unable to see him for what may be the last time because of United States President Donald Trump's travel ban, according to the family.

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“All she wishes is to hold his hand for the last time,” Ali Hassan, the boy’s father, and U.S. citizen, said.

The boy’s mother, 21-year-old Shaime Swileh is unable to travel to the United States from Egypt because of her Yemeni nationality.

At the behest of the Trump administration, a court order has been put in place to prevent nationals, mostly from predominantly Muslim countries, and additional rival countries, namely: Libya, Iran, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, North Korea, and Venezuela.

The order was blocked by two lower courts before being upheld by the Supreme Court in June.

Hassan has been desperately trying for nearly a year to get a waiver from the court ruling to allow his wife and children to unite, “My wife’s calling me every day wanting to kiss and hold her son for that one last time.”

The boy was born with a rare brain disease which prevents him from moving and speaking properly. The sickness has worsened to the degree where the toddler is unable to breathe without the help of a respirator.

The father, who lives in Stockton, brought the boy to UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland for treatment, where the doctors have told him his son is not expected to live much longer.

Time is running out for the child and his mother to share some final moments together but so far, the U.S. State Department has ignored pleas to make an exception on the travel ban.

Travelers from the seven ‘black-listed’ countries can request waivers for the ban but those are rarely issued, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

If things continue this way, the Administration’s travel ban may well lead to a catastrophic event for the family, “If he dies and we bury him without his mom seeing him, that would be a disaster,” said Hassan, who took the boy to the United States to receive medical care, not knowing that the boy’s situation would deteriorate to such a point. His wife didn’t know the trip might involve the possibility of not being able to see her boy ever again.

The Yemeni civil war started in 2015. Since then, the country has spiraled into one of the most catastrophic humanitarian disasters of the 21st century. More than 24 million people, representing three-quarters of the population, are in need of assistance and protection, and 20 million people lack access to food, according to the United Nations.

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