The two-year-old son of a Yemeni woman who sued the Trump administration to let her into the country to be with the ailing boy has died, the Council on American-Islamic Relations has announced.
Abdullah Hassan died on Friday in UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland in the United States, where his father Ali Hassan brought him to get treatment for a genetic brain disorder.
Ali Hassan is a US citizen who lives in Stockton, California. He and his wife Shaima Swileh moved to Egypt after marrying in war-torn Yemen in 2016.
Swileh is not an American citizen and remained in Egypt while fighting for a visa.
‘The light of our lives’
“We are heartbroken. We had to say goodbye to our baby, the light of our lives,” Ali Hassan was quoted as saying in the statement published by the council.
A funeral is scheduled for Saturday.
Swileh had been trying to get a visa since 2017, so the family could move to the US.
Citizens from Yemen and four other mostly Muslim countries, along with North Korea and Venezuela, are restricted from coming to the US under President Donald Trump’ s travel ban.
Rights groups sought to overturn the ban in the US Supreme Court, claiming it was biased against Muslims. But the top court rejected the petition in June.
Muslim body demanded waiver
When the boy’s health worsened, the father went to California in October to get their son help, while Swileh remained in Egypt hoping for a visa.
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 Ali 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 a hospital social worker reached out to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which sued on December 16, said Basim Elkarra, executive director of the group in Sacramento.
The State Department granted Swileh a waiver the next day.
“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.”