The family of a 2-year-old boy on life support is working with the US State Department to get an expedited visa for his mother so she can see him one last time.
Abdullah Hassan is suffering from a genetic brain condition. He is on a ventilator at the University of California San Francisco’s Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland.
His mother is a Yemeni national living in Egypt, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Sacramento Valley chapter.
She was unable to see her ailing son because of the White House’s travel ban, CAIR said. Now, Abdullah’s father “is filing paperwork to get an expedited humanitarian visa” for his wife, CAIR-Sacramento Valley Executive Director Basim Elkarra said.
There is no clear timetable on when the visa will be granted, Elkarra said, and it sometimes can take up to 10 days. But he is hopeful it will happen much sooner, as time is of the essence, he said.
Abdullah’s father brought the boy to the United States for medical treatment a few months ago, the CAIR chapter said. The boy, whose birthday was Saturday, and his father are American citizens.
“My son, Abdullah, needs his mother. My wife is calling me every day wanting to kiss and hold her son,” Ali Hassan, 22, told reporters before breaking into tears.
“He’s about to die soon,” the father said. “His mother is unable to touch him, to see him, to even give him a kiss before he goes.”
Doctors have said Abdullah may not withstand life support for much longer, CAIR says.
“Our hearts are breaking for this family,” CAIR attorney Saad Sweilem said. “The loss of a child is something no parent should experience, but not being able to be there in your child’s last moments is unfathomably cruel.”
The hospital said it empathizes with the boy’s family.
“UCSF and the Benioff Children’s Hospitals support the family’s desire to come together in Abdullah’s final days. In the meantime, we are doing everything we can to keep the child comfortable and help the family through this difficult experience,” the hospital said in a statement.
Though President Donald 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.
The boy’s mother applied for a waiver to be with her child.
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.”
Reached for comment, a State Department official said the government cannot discuss individual visa cases.
“The Department of State makes every effort to facilitate legitimate travel by international visitors. We are also fully committed to administering US immigration law and ensuring the integrity and security of our country’s borders,” the official said.