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His Mom Fought Trump's Travel Ban. Now He's Gone

Abdullah Hassan died at the age of 2
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 29, 2018 5:20 PM CST
Muhammad Younus, the imam of the California Islamic Center, addresses mourners at the funeral service for 2-year-old Abdullah Hassan in Lodi, Calif., Saturday, Dec. 29, 2018.   (AP Photo/Daisy Nguyen)
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(Newser) – Mourners at a mosque in California said goodbye Saturday to a 2-year-old boy whose Yemeni mother successfully fought the Trump administration's travel ban to hold the dying boy again in the United States, the AP reports. Abdullah Hassan died Friday at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital in Oakland, where his father, Ali Hassan, brought him in the fall to get treatment for a genetic brain disorder, the Council on American-Islamic Relations said. He had been on life support when his mother, Shaima Swileh, arrived last week. "We are heartbroken. We had to say goodbye to our baby, the light of our lives," Hassan, a US citizen, says in a statement released by the advocacy group. Hassan and his wife moved to Egypt after marrying in war-torn Yemen in 2016.

Swileh is not a US citizen and remained in Egypt as she fought for a visa for over a year so the family could move to America. Citizens from Yemen and four other mostly Muslim countries, along with North Korea and Venezuela, are restricted from coming to the United States under President Trump' s travel ban. When the boy's health worsened, the father went ahead to California in October to get their son help. As the couple fought for a waiver, he started losing hope and was considering pulling his son off life support to end his suffering; but then a hospital social worker reached out to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which sued on Dec. 16, and the State Department granted Swileh a waiver. "In his short life, Abdullah has been a guiding light for all of us in the fight against xenophobia and family separation," says a family lawyer.

(Read more Yemen stories.)

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