A mother from Yemen cradled her dying infant son in a California hospital Thursday when, just a few days ago, she thought she would never be able to tell him goodbye.
The State Department granted Shaima Swileh a waiver to President Donald Trump’s travel ban, allowing her to hold her baby and tell him how much she loves him, perhaps for the last time.
Friends and reporters mobbed Swileh when she arrived at the San Francisco airport Wednesday night.
Husband, son US citizens
Two-year-old Abdullah Hassan, a U.S. citizen, is on life support with a rare genetic brain condition. His father, Ali Hassan, also an American citizen, has been at the hospital with his son.
The couple married in Egypt in 2016. But Swileh, a Yemeni, was not allowed to come to the United States because of the travel ban.
Hassan has said he was ready to take his son off life support, giving up hope his wife would ever be able to see the child.
State Department grants waiver
Lawyers from the Council on American-Islamic Relations sued the State Department, which granted her a visa earlier this week.
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 earlier this week.
Trump’s travel ban restricts citizens from Yemen and six other mostly Muslim countries, along with North Korea and Venezuela, 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. Rep. Barbara Lee, a Democrat from California, also intervened on the family’s behalf, calling the travel ban “heinous” and “un-American.”