Mom Kept From Seeing Dying Son, 2, Because of Travel Ban Gets a Waiver to Visit Him

Abdullah Hassan, 2, is dying from a rare genetic brain disorder.
Abdullah Hassan, 2, is being treated at a California hospital. Council on American-Islamic Relations

A Yemeni mother has been granted a travel waiver to visit her dying 2-year-old son in a California hospital, her advocates announced Tuesday.

Shaima Swileh, who has been living in Egypt, has waited months for permission from the U.S. State Department for a special visa that would allow her to be with her boy, Abdullah Hassan, who doesn't have long to live because of a rare genetic brain disorder.

Swileh had fled her native Yemen, which is riven by a bloody civil war. Though her home is now in Egypt, she is banned from entering the United States because of President Donald Trump's travel ban prohibiting visitors several Muslim-majority countries, which includes Yemen.

Her husband, Ali Hassan, is an American citizen and now lives in Stockton.

When their son was diagnosed, Swileh sought a waiver from the ban to visit him. But it was not granted until Tuesday, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a nonpartisan advocacy group that had drawn attention to the family's plight in recent days.

On Monday, Hassan spoke to reporters at a press conference in Benioff Children's Hospital in Oakland, a University of California, San Francisco, facility where little Abudullah is fighting for his life.

"My son, Abdullah, needs his mother. My wife is calling me every day wanting to kiss and hold her son for the last time," Hassan said through tears. "Time is running out. Please help us get my family together again."

Family attorney Saad Sweilem is helping the mother with travel plans and hopes to get her on a plane from Egypt as soon as possible, the Sacramento Bee reported.

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