LODI, Calif. (AP) — The father of a 2-year-old boy who was separated from his Yemeni mother until she successfully fought the Trump administration’s travel ban to see him in the United States laid his body to rest Saturday, a day after the child was taken off life support at a hospital.
Under a cloudless winter day, Ali Hassan carried his son’s small body to bury at an Islamic cemetery in California’s Central Valley.
“I’m a U.S. citizen; my son is a U.S. citizen,” the 22-year-old father told mourners at a service before burial. “The Muslim ban kept my wife from coming to the U.S. for over a year. It forced me to choose between my son’s health and keeping our family together. We are angry, but we know our son did not die in vain.”
The child’s distraught mother mourned privately at home.
Abdullah Hassan died Friday at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland, where his father brought him in the fall to get treatment for a degenerative brain condition. He had been on life support when his 21-year-old mother, Shaima Swileh, arrived last week.
Hassan spent his youth in California’s central valley after his family immigrated there from Yemen. During a trip to the warn-torn country in 2016, he fell in love with Swileh and married her that same year.
Because she is Yemeni, Swileh was restricted from traveling to the United States under the White House travel ban that’s keeping citizens from Yemen and four other mostly Muslim countries from entering the country.
The family stayed in Cairo, Egypt, while Swileh tried to obtain a waiver to that ban, which would allow her a visa to travel with her family to the United States to receive medical treatment for the boy. But she was repeatedly denied travel documents, Hassan said.
When Abdullah’s health worsened, Hassan went ahead to California in October to get their son help. As the couple fought for a waiver, doctors put Abdullah on life support.
“My wife is calling me every day wanting to kiss and hold her son for the one last time,” said Hassan, choking up at a news conference earlier this month.
He started losing hope and was considering pulling his son off life support to end his suffering. But then a hospital social worker reached out to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which sued on Dec. 16, said Basim Elkarra, executive director of the advocacy group in Sacramento.
The State Department granted Swileh a waiver the next day, and she has since received a visa to stay in the country.
She was pictured cradling her son in the hospital 10 days ago.
“With their courage, this family has inspired our nation to confront the realities of Donald Trump’s Muslim Ban,” said Saad Sweilem, a lawyer with the council who represents the family. “In his short life, Abdullah has been a guiding light for all of us in the fight against xenophobia and family separation.”
Hassan said he hopes his family’s struggle will lead to policy changes and families like his will not have to separate.
This story has been corrected to show that the boy’s first name is spelled Abdullah, not Abdallah.
- US to ban American flights to all Cuban cities except Havana
- Every Time Travel Movie Ever, Ranked
- Yes, I'll be praying for the boys - the ones trapped in Thailand, writes RACHEL JOHNSON
- Harmeet Dhillon: Champions of free speech have become the censors. Don't let democracy die in silence
- Sisters who fought cancer together as children are tragically separated as one dies following a relapse, aged 20
- US Special Forces soldier wears BANNED Kurdish patch in show of solidarity as troops pull out of Syria and senior official claims Trump is considering plan to keep roughly 200 American soldiers in the region
- Mom Ranted At Daughter's Alleged Bullies, Faces Charges
- Proud Boys and skinheads: MLS faces an incursion from the far-right
- 'Dad stop the burning, I beg you': Horrifying footage reveals badly-burned Kurdish children in Syria amid claims Turkey is using banned weapons such as napalm and white phosphorus
- Rape of my childhood: It's the publishing sensation of the year. The brutal abuse of Britain's most exciting pianist by his prep school PE teacher - and how his ex wife tried to ban his book about it
- Why I refuse to die: Glamorous real estate agent, 26, who has been given just months to live says she won't accept doctors' earth-shattering diagnosis as she reveals why she WILL beat the incredibly rare disease
- 12-year-old boy dies unexpectedly in Italy while on family cruise aboard the MSC Divina
- US condemns Putin's adoption ban amid further strain in Russian relations
- Uluru ban: What do locals think of the final rush to climb?
- Putin hints he will sign bill banning adoption of Russian children in US
- Stephen Hawking, science's brightest star, dies aged 76
- Reclaiming Inuit culture, one tattoo at a time
- Dear Europe: letters from JK Rowling, Neil Gaiman, Mary Beard and more
- Batman v Superman: Spoiler FAQ of Justice
- Defiant family of ISIS bride Shamima Begum vow to take Sajid Javid to COURT to stop him stripping her of UK citizenship because it would leave her 'stateless'
Boy whose Yemeni mom fought US travel ban to see him dies have 862 words, post on www.columbiamissourian.com at December 28, 2018. This is cached page on Business News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.