Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 24 August 2019

Yemeni mother wins US visa fight to visit dying son

Two-year-old Abdullah Hassan is on life support in California

Abdullah Hassan, a 2 year old from Yemen who is on life support in California. 
Abdullah Hassan, a 2 year old from Yemen who is on life support in California. 

The Yemeni mother of a terminally ill toddler has won her fight to visit her son in a California hospital after the US State Department initially prevented her because of its travel ban.

Two-year-old Abdullah Hassan was born in Yemen with a debilitating genetic brain condition, which led his father to take him to the US for medical treatment a few months ago. Both father and son, who turned two on Saturday, have US citizenship but his mother is a Yemeni citizen living in Egypt.

Shaima Swileh will now get on the next available flight out of Egypt, a journey that could take as long as 20 hours including stopovers after the waiver was issued by the State Department.

A successful fundraising effort will pay for her flight and the boy's funeral.

With Abdullah dependent on a ventilator to breathe at the University of California San Francisco’s Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland, his family is contemplating taking him off life-support.

His mother Shaima Swileh wanted to see him one last time but was unable to get a visa to visit her son because of the White House’s travel ban, according to the council's Sacramento Valley chapter.

Abdullah’s father filed paperwork to get a humanitarian visa expedited for his wife. He also appeared on CNN and in the American print media to appeal to US officials to allow his wife into the country to see her son.

"All she wishes is to hold his hand for the last time," Ali Hassan, who is 22, told the San Francisco Chronicle on Sunday.

He had said his son would die if he were taken to Egypt to see his mother.

Expedited visas usually take up to 10 days, but the process has been completed quicker than expected after the appeal.

"My son, Abdullah, needs his mother. My wife is calling me every day wanting to kiss and hold her son," Mr Hassan told reporters before the visa was issued.

"He's about to die soon," he said. "His mother is unable to touch him, to see him, to even give him a kiss before he goes."

US President Donald Trump made introducing a travel ban on seven Muslim majority countries a pillar of his election campaign. The ban, which was billed as a way of thwarting terrorist attacks in the US, has undergone numerous legal challenges and a number of revisions.

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Updated: December 21, 2018 04:09 PM

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