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US Grants Visa to Yemeni Mother to Visit Her Dying Child

Voice of America
19 Dec 2018, 12:05 GMT+10

The State Department has granted a waiver to the Trump travel ban to a mother from Yemen, allowing her to come to the United States and be with her dying toddler son.

Shaima Swileh is expected to arrive in San Francisco Wednesday, where her 2-year-old child, Abdullah Hassan a U.S. citizen is on life support with a rare genetic brain condition.

The boy's father, Ali Hassan, is also an American citizen and is already in California.

'Mourn with dignity'

'This is the happiest day of my life. This will allow us to mourn with dignity,' Hassan said in a statement released by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

Hassan has said he was ready to take his son off life support, giving up hope that his wife would ever get to see their dying child.

CAIR lawyers took up Swileh's case and sued the State Department so she could get a visa.

State Department spokesman Robert Palladino called it a 'very sad case,' and said U.S. officials struggle to determine which appeals for waivers are legitimate while balancing national security concerns.

'These are not easy questions. We've got a lot of foreign service officers deployed all over the world that are making these decisions on a daily basis and they are trying to do the right thing at all times,' Palladino said.

Lee offered assistance

President Donald Trump's travel ban restricts citizens from Yemen and six other mostly Muslim countries from coming to the United States, citing a threat of terrorism.

But critics of the ban have pointed to the Swileh case as an example of what they call discrimination against Muslims.

U.S. Representative Barbara Lee, a Democrat from California, also intervened on the family's behalf, calling the travel ban 'heinous' and 'un-American.'

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