Yemeni mother granted visa to visit dying son

The US State Department has granted a Yemeni mother, whose 2-year-old son is on life support in a California hospital, a waiver to travel to the United States, according to officials with the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Posted: Dec 19, 2018 11:24 AM
Updated: Dec 19, 2018 11:26 AM

The US State Department granted a Yemeni mother, whose 2-year-old son is on life support in an Oakland hospital, a waiver Tuesday to travel to the United States, according to officials with the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Shaima Swileh will catch the earliest available flight out of Egypt and is scheduled to arrive in San Francisco on Wednesday evening, said Basim Elkarra, the executive director of the council's Sacramento Valley chapter.

Money secured through a fundraising effort will pay for her flight and the boy's funeral, he said.

The news came shortly after the boy's father, Ali Hassan, appeared on CNN pleading with consular officials to expedite his wife's visa application so that she'd be able to see her son one last time.

Hassan, 22, and his son, Abdullah, are American citizens, but Swileh lives in Egypt. Because she is Yemeni, she's restricted from traveling to the United States under the White House travel ban.

After receiving a waiver to the ban, Swileh will travel to the United States on an I-130 visa, which permits entry to close relatives of American citizens, Elkarra said. Hassan spoke to her via video chat as she left the American Embassy in Cairo to prepare for her trip, he said.

"Unfortunately, even in this win, it's still a loss, but at least she'll come and be able to mourn with dignity and see her son get buried and bring some closure to all the pain," Elkarra said.

"We just hope that she can make it in time and see her son in his last hours."

Hours before news of the visa came, Hassan told CNN, "Time is running out for my son, to be honest. ... All she wishes is to see her son, and that's it. We want to be together."

He issued a plea to President Donald Trump: "All families, they're supposed to be together. Right now, with my son's situation, he's facing death. I'm going through losing my son. It's really hard for me and for my mother and for my family and my wife, too. It's just really hard."

Abdullah, whose birthday was Saturday, is suffering from a genetic brain condition, and his father flew him to the States for treatment on October 1. It was the last time his mother saw him.

Doctors have told Hassan that patients such as his son are usually on life support for two or three weeks, or at maximum, a month. Abdullah has been on a ventilator at University of California San Francisco's Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland for more than a month, his father said.

"It's really bad," he said.

Swileh has been crying every day, and she calls Hassan saying she just wants to see her son and "give him a kiss before he goes," the father told CNN.

"She's going crazy," he said.

Though Trump's travel ban -- billed as a means of thwarting terrorists' entry into the United States -- has drawn legal challenges, the executive order still restricts nationals of Yemen and six other countries from entering the country.

According to the State Department, consular officers can make exceptions to the travel restriction when a visa's "issuance is in the national interest, the applicant poses no national security or public safety threat to the United States, and denial of the visa would cause undue hardship."

State Department officials were not immediately available for comment Tuesday. On Monday, the department said it makes "every effort to facilitate legitimate travel by international visitors," but an official said the department would not comment on individual visa cases.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 33558

Reported Deaths: 2110
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9616571
Lake3538185
Cass15897
Allen145168
St. Joseph124834
Elkhart116328
Hendricks116171
Hamilton115693
Johnson1093108
Madison58559
Porter51627
Bartholomew50034
Clark49241
LaPorte42423
Howard39526
Tippecanoe3903
Jackson3791
Delaware37736
Shelby36822
Hancock32728
Floyd31839
Boone30935
Morgan27824
Vanderburgh2652
Montgomery23517
White2318
Decatur22431
Clinton2231
Noble21121
Grant20621
Harrison19221
Dubois1923
Henry16910
Greene16824
Monroe16612
Warrick16628
Dearborn16621
Vigo1648
Lawrence15423
Miami1411
Putnam1367
Jennings1304
Orange12522
Scott1193
Kosciusko1111
Franklin1098
Ripley1086
Carroll922
Marshall901
Daviess8516
Steuben812
Newton7710
Wayne776
Fayette767
Wabash762
LaGrange712
Jasper651
Washington521
Jay500
Fulton481
Clay471
Rush462
Randolph463
Pulaski460
Jefferson431
Whitley393
Starke363
Sullivan341
Owen341
Brown331
DeKalb331
Perry310
Benton300
Knox290
Wells280
Huntington272
Tipton251
Crawford240
Blackford242
Fountain202
Switzerland200
Spencer191
Parke170
Posey160
Gibson142
Adams131
Ohio130
Warren121
Martin110
Vermillion100
Union80
Pike60
Unassigned0164

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 34566

Reported Deaths: 2131
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin5674256
Cuyahoga4318226
Marion265728
Hamilton2603147
Lucas2202240
Pickaway205036
Mahoning1405173
Summit1380172
Butler86229
Columbiana73951
Stark71691
Lorain67259
Montgomery65117
Trumbull56248
Belmont41912
Warren35920
Miami35530
Tuscarawas3393
Ashtabula33034
Medina32823
Portage32257
Delaware32013
Lake30212
Wood28546
Geauga27732
Wayne26650
Fairfield2586
Clark2526
Licking23010
Allen21232
Clermont2065
Mercer2037
Richland1973
Erie16711
Darke16721
Madison1527
Washington11819
Crawford1104
Morrow1051
Greene1015
Ottawa9513
Putnam9014
Monroe7712
Sandusky7311
Auglaize713
Hocking694
Ross682
Jefferson672
Huron561
Williams541
Union511
Muskingum500
Hancock501
Hardin450
Clinton430
Fayette400
Shelby403
Wyandot392
Fulton390
Coshocton380
Logan370
Preble351
Guernsey340
Defiance332
Holmes321
Carroll303
Lawrence300
Brown281
Champaign271
Knox241
Highland231
Ashland200
Seneca202
Vinton192
Perry181
Athens181
Henry150
Scioto150
Paulding140
Jackson130
Harrison100
Adams91
Gallia71
Van Wert60
Meigs60
Pike60
Noble60
Morgan50
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 55°
Angola
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 55°
Huntington
Clear
56° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 56°
Decatur
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 55°
Van Wert
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 55°
Sunny Sunday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events