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Yemeni Mother Granted Travel Ban Waiver to Enter the U.S. and See Her Dying 2-Year-Old Son

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A Yemeni mother whose 2-year-old son is on life support in an Oakland hospital has been allowed to visit her child, having previously been prevented from entering the United States under President Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban.

The State Department granted Shaima Swileh the waiver on Tuesday after lawyers with the Council on American-Islamic Relations sued this week, ending a year-long battle for the family. Her son, Abdullah Hassan, suffers a genetic brain condition and was brought to the U.S. for treatment by the boy’s father and Swileh’s husband, Ali Hassan, an American citizen living in California.

After landing at the San Francisco International Airport from Egypt, Swileh was greeted by her husband, along with relatives and supporters who had been awaiting her arrival. The family then traveled to the University of California San Francisco’s Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland to be with their son.

Since Hassan and Abdullah are both American citizens, they were able to leave Egypt for the U.S. in October, when Hassan’s health worsened. But Swileh, a Yemeni national, was barred from following them into the country. Under President Trump’s ban, foreign travel to the U.S. from six countries — Iran, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Yemen – is prohibited.

As Swileh and her husband fought for a waiver, doctors put Abdullah on life support; he has now been on a ventilator at the Children’s Hospital for more than a month. It was only yesterday that he and his mother were finally reunited.

“The Muslim ban has hurt Yemen-American families and needs to end,” Ali Hassan told reporters earlier in the day.

Tens of thousands of people have been affected by denials of visa applications under Trump’s travel ban, which the U.S. Supreme Court upheld in a 5-4 ruling in June.

The waiver provision allows a case-by-case exemption for people who can show entry to the U.S. is in the national interest, needed to prevent undue hardship and would not pose a security risk.

State Department spokesman Robert Palladino called it “a very sad case, and our thoughts go out to this family at this time, at this trying time.”

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