Heartbreaking stories show Muslim ban is more than an ‘inconvenience’

What Trump officials call an “inconvenience” is a life or death matter for many.

Nour Ulayyet comforts her mother, Isaaf Jamal Eddin, who is recovering from a mastectomy, after her sister was not allowed to join them. CREDIT: AP Photo/Paul Beaty
Nour Ulayyet comforts her mother, Isaaf Jamal Eddin, who is recovering from a mastectomy, after her sister was not allowed to join them. CREDIT: AP Photo/Paul Beaty

PARTIAL RETRACTION: This post originally aggregated a story about a man, Mike Hager, who claimed his mother had died because of President’s Trump Muslim ban. He told reporters that had the ban not been in place, his mother would have been able to travel to U.S. from Iraq for life-saving medical care. Reporting by Fox 2 News then found Hager was lying: his mother died before the ban was put in place. ThinkProgress’ headline has been changed and aggregation about Hager’s story has been removed to reflect these developments.

The Trump administration’s go-to talking point for defending their Muslim ban is that it’s merely an “inconvenience” for some people, and that’s a “small price to pay” for safety — despite the galling lack of evidence that it does anything to keep the country safer. An increasing number of stories demonstrate that this portrayal of the ban’s impact falls far short of describing its consequences.

A Massachusetts family is split apart as an infant child faces major surgeries for burns he suffered after a heater exploded in an Iraqi refugee camp. Thanks to an aid group, little year-and-a-half-old Dilbreen was brought to Boston with his father for emergency surgery. His father returned to Iraq to see Dilbreen’s little brother born on November 8th, and they named the new baby “Trump.”

Dilbreen is scheduled to have another surgery this month, but his family can’t return to care for him. Carrie Schuchardt of the House of Peace in Ipswich described the situation in stark terms: “So they are stranded in Iraq,” she told CBS Boston. “The child is here. The need for surgery is pressing.” In the meantime, Dilbreen is staying with a family in Michigan while attorneys are trying to get special waivers for his own family to return to be with him.

Sahar Algonaima was traveling from Syria to Indiana to visit her mother, who has cancer and just underwent a mastectomy on Friday. Despite having a valid visa, she was never allowed to deplane and was sent back to Saudi Arabia, where she lives. Before she left, officials made her sign paperwork that she didn’t understand. It canceled her visa.


The stories keep trickling in. The Washington Post notes other examples of people who either require treatment they can only receive in the United States or who have endured massive trauma and need refuge beyond the camps and safe houses where they currently reside, such as:

  • A 9-year-old Somali child living in a refugee camp in Ethiopia who requires treatment for a congenital heart disease.
  • A 1-year-old Sudanese boy with cancer.
  • A Somali boy with a severe intestinal disorder who can’t access the colostomy bags he needs in his refugee camp.
  • A young Somali woman who was raped multiple times and is now raising a child conceived in one of those sexual assaults.
  • A 38-year-old Somali woman whose husband died last year. She recently had a blood transfusion and in her fragile state is still trying to care for seven children by herself.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees noted Monday that Trump’s Muslim ban will prevent some 20,000 refugees “in precarious circumstances” from resettling in the United States.

And yet, Wednesday morning, Trump was still insisting that the ban is somehow keeping “bad people” out of the country.

In reality, many of the people the ban is keeping out are just “people in bad shape.”