The mother of a two-year-old boy on life support is unable to see her son thanks to President Donald Trump’s ban on travel from Muslim-majority countries.
The toddler, Abdullah Hassan, was born in Yemen with hypomyelination, a rare brain disease, and was brought to Stockton, California by his father, a U.S. citizen, five months ago to receive treatment. His case has severely worsened, with Abdullah losing the ability to breathe properly. He isn’t expected to live much longer.
According to local media, Abdullah’s parents are ready to take him off life support, but want him to see his mother one final time.
“My wife is calling me every day wanting to kiss and hold our son for one last time,” the boy’s father, Ali Hassan, said at a press conference in Sacramento on Monday.
“Time is running out,” Hassan said tearfully. “Please, help us get our family together again.”
Over the course of the last year, the State Department has reportedly ignored the family’s multiple pleas for a waiver that would allow Abdullah’s mother, Shaima Swileh, to travel to the U.S. to see her son.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has taken on the family’s case and filed a formal letter with both the State Department and the U.S. Embassy in Cairo where Abdullah’s mother is currently living. The letter requests that the government expedite her request for a waiver.
“He deserves the love and affection of his mother, one last time,” said Saad Sweilem, the attorney representing the family. “We should not be forcing our own American children to die without a mother’s love.”
CAIR is hoping to secure a waiver by Monday and has stated they are ready to fly out Abdullah’s mother at a moment’s notice.
President Trump introduced his ban on travel from majority-Muslim countries in January 2017, almost immediately after his inauguration. In the year that followed, Trump rolled out two other versions of the ban after being met with multiple lawsuits, with the latest iteration prohibiting travel to the U.S. by most citizens of Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen. Chad was later removed from the list.
Travelers from these countries can request waivers, as Abdullah’s mother has, but they are very rarely ever awarded. As ThinkProgress has previously reported, getting a wavier is virtually impossible. Of the more than 8,400 people who applied for U.S. visas from countries blacklisted by Trump, only about 100 individuals were granted waivers.
The executive order has been challenged multiple times by the court, but “Muslim Ban 3.0” was ultimately upheld by the Supreme Court earlier this year.
“This ruling will go down in history as one of the Supreme Court’s great failures,” director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project said at the time. “It repeats the mistakes of the Korematsu decision upholding Japanese-American imprisonment and swallows wholesale government lawyers’ flimsy national security excuse for the ban instead of taking seriously the president’s own explanation for his action.”