December 17, 2018 6:39 pm
Updated: December 17, 2018 7:12 pm

‘Unfathomably cruel’: Yemeni mom unable to visit dying 2-year-old son due to Trump travel ban

WATCH: Father of dying child pleads with authorities to allow mother into U.S. despite travel ban

A A

The Yemeni mother of a two-year-old boy on life support in a California hospital is being prevented from saying goodbye to her ailing son due to the Trump administration’s travel ban on people from certain Muslim countries, according to the boy’s family.

Abdullah Hassan was born with hypomyelination, a rare brain disorder that has slowly robbed him of his ability to walk and talk. Lately, he has lost his ability to breathe on his own and is on life support.

He is not expected to make it to his third birthday.

Abdullah’s family wants to take him off life support and end his suffering, but they’d like the toddler to be able to see his mother one last time.

Ali Hassan with son Abdullah in UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland, Calif. The photo was taken on Abdullah’s second birthday.

Council of Islamic-American Relations (Sacramento Valley) via Reuters

On Monday, Abdullah’s U.S.-born father, Ali Hassan, held an emotional press conference pleading with the U.S. State Department to allow his wife to visit the U.S. to say goodbye to her dying son.

“I’m here today because my son Abdullah needs his mother,” Hassan said.

“My wife is calling me everyday wanting to kiss and hold her son for the one last time. Time is running out,” he said, choking up. “Please help us get my family together again.”

WATCH: Muslim organization says travel ban keeping mother from visiting dying son

Story continues below

Hassan was born into a Yemeni-origin family in Stockton, Calif. He met his wife in the Arab nation, and the couple had several children there.

When their son Abdullah was eight months old, the family fled to Egypt to escape Yemen’s brutal civil war, which continues to rage to this day. The war has pitted a Saudi-led, U.S.-backed coalition against Houthi rebels supported by Iran.

READ MORE: Saudi Arabia admits ‘mistakes’ in airstrike that killed 40 Yemeni children

The family lived in Cairo until five months ago, when Hassan brought Abdullah to the U.S. for medical treatment.

But when the family applied for Hassan’s wife Shaima Swileh to travel to the U.S., they received a rejection letter citing President Donald Trump’s travel ban.

They’re now urging authorities to grant her a waiver.

Hassan’s lawyer Saad Sweilem said the family’s plight showcased the “most dehumanizing” effects of the travel ban.

“We’re calling for the Department of State to issue a Muslim ban waiver to allow Shaima Swileh — the wife of a U.S. citizen, the mother of a U.S. citizen — to hold her child one last time and to allow her to mourn with dignity,” Sweilem said.

Council of Islamic-American Relations (San Francisco Valley) via Reuters

He added that the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which has taken up the Hassan family’s case, is ready to fly the boy’s mother out from Cairo at a moment’s notice.

“The loss of a child is something no parent should experience, but not being able to be there in your child’s last moments is unfathomably cruel,” Sweilem said in a statement provided by CAIR.

“From the crisis at our border to the Muslim ban, this administration is doing everything in its power to undermine immigrants’ rights and uphold a xenophobic agenda that tears families apart.”

READ MORE: At 7 years old, a migrant girl crossed into America, and then died in U.S. custody

The U.S. State Department hasn’t responded to Global News’ request for comment.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Report an error

Comments

Want to discuss? Please read our Commenting Policy first.