A Yemeni mother who struggled for months to get entry into the United States amidst the travel ban will finally be able to hold her son before he dies.
On Tuesday the fight to get into the U.S. was finally over after the Council on American-Islamic Relations sued on Monday.
The impact of the travel ban by presidential order and upheld by the Supreme Court in June and amended after two broader iterations were blocked by lower courts, affects seven countries, with varying degrees of severity.
In totality, it took effect in December, with five of the seven countries affected being of the Muslim majority. The amount of people affected by this ban exceeds 135 million.
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Ali Hassan, the 2-year old’s father, is a U.S. citizen and brought his son to California in the fall to get treatment for a genetic brain disorder when it got worse.
Due to the travel ban in place, Shaima Swileh could not get a visa, since she is from Yemen, one of the countries on the suspension list. The other countries are Libya, Somalia, Iran, Syria, with the now added North Korea and Venezuela.
For months both Ali and Shaima fought for a waiver while their son’s life slowly slips away with his mother heartbroken not being able to be with her son as Shaima said:
"I am emailing them, crying, and telling them that my son is dying."
Last week their little boy’s health decline further and doctors at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland put him on life support.
Under the new travel ban, the United States government says that waivers can be issued to those in affected countries in need of visas.
The criteria for waivers are described in broad terms and says that it is up to the discretion of the consular officers responsible for reviewing applications whether the individual will be granted a waiver or not.
A waiver itself does not guarantee entry, as a valid visa is still required. So with all this struggling, Ali had begun to lose hope that his wife would be able to hold her son one last time before he passed away.
Help came in the form of a hospital social worker that reached out to the Council on American-Islamic Relations. They took the matter further and now finally, Shaima will get to be with her son and husband during this difficult time.
The council had made all arrangements, and Shaima is set to arrive at San Francisco International Airport on Wednesday night, December 19.
Shaima may not be able to make up for the lost months with her son due to unnecessary red tape and delays, but she will be with him, and hold him, and get to say goodbye to her little boy when the time comes.
Nageeb Alomari’s case was similar, but his wife and three daughters were unable to leave Yemen, and he afraid for their safety in the war-stricken country after a bomb went off close to their home in 2016.
Nageeb became an American citizen in 2010 and wanted to get his family to the United States as soon as possible. His eldest daughter has severe cerebral palsy and needed medication several times a day that was hard to come by in Yemen.
For years the family struggled to get waivers to allow his wife and daughters entry into the U.S. The case gained attention when it was used to protest against the passing of an amended travel ban in court.
It led to the issuing of the waivers and they finally landed at JFK airport on May 26, 2018, where they got greeted with balloons, American flags, and applause. A family reunited, at last.
Continuing on his immigrant and travel ban rampage, Trump signed legislation on November 9 and stated that no illegal migrants would be allowed to apply for asylum.
Later on in November the U.S. District Judge, Jon Tigar put a stop to the administration implementing the new legislation. He served Trump with a court order barring him from refusing asylum to illegal migrants. Trump got infuriated by the move and took to Twitter to rant:
"It's a disgrace, and I'm going to put in a major complaint. Because you cannot win."
How Donald Trump plan on going about this is still unclear, as he did not give any indication.