The two-year-old son of a Yemeni woman who sued the United States administration to let her into the country to be with her ailing child, died at a hospital in California on Friday, AP reported. Abdullah Hassan, afflicted with a genetic brain disorder, was admitted to the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland in October after his health worsened, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Ali Hassan, the child’s father, is a US citizen who lives in Stockton in California. He had moved to Egypt after marrying his wife Shaima Swileh in Yemen in 2016. Swileh is not an American citizen and had been struggling to get a visa since 2017 so that the family could move to the US.
Ali Hassan went ahead to California in October for medical treatment but Swileh remained in Egypt. As the couple fought for a waiver, Abdullah Hassan was put on life support.
US President Donald Trump last year had imposed an immigration ban on citizens from seven Muslim-majority nations – Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen. In June this year, the US Supreme Court had upheld the ban on travellers, ruling that the move was within the president’s power to determine national security policy and his authority to “suspend entry of aliens into the US”.
At a news conference last month, Ali Hassan said, “My wife is calling me every day wanting to kiss and hold her son for one last time.” As he was considering pulling the child off life support, a hospital social worker reached out to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which sued the administration on December 16, said council Executive Director Basim Elkarra.
Swileh was granted a travel waiver the next day and travelled to the US, where she met her son 10 days ago. “With their courage, this family has inspired our nation to confront the realities of Donald Trump’s Muslim ban,” said Saad Sweilem, the lawyer representing the family.
Abdullah Hassan was buried at a cemetery in California’s Central Valley on Saturday. “I’m a US citizen, my son is a US citizen,” Ali Hassan said at a service before burial. “The Muslim ban kept my wife from coming to the US for over a year. It forced me to choose between my son’s health and keeping our family together.”