Abdullah Hassan, the boy with a genetic brain condition whose Yemeni mother had to fight President Trump's travel ban in order to be by his hospital bed in the US, died Friday. He was 2.
Abdullah had been on life support at the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in San Francisco, where he was taken by his father from Egypt a few months ago for medical care.
According to CNN, both the boy and his father, Ali Hassan, are US citizens. His mother, Shaima Swileh, who is from Yemen and lives in Egypt, is not.
As Abdullah’s health declined and doctors said he did not have long to live, the family fought for Swileh to be granted a visa waiver that would let her see her son one last time.
Trump’s travel ban, which the Supreme Court upheld in June, restricts admission to the US for people coming in from several majority-Muslim countries, including Yemen. It has been widely criticized as being anti-Muslim, particularly because Trump has previously called for a “Muslim ban.”
In a press conference earlier this month, Hassan wept and spoke of his longing for their family to be reunited “one last time.”
“My wife is calling me every day wanting to kiss and hold our son for the one last time,” Hassan said. “Time is running out. Please help us.”
On Dec. 18, Swileh was granted a visa waiver, a spokesperson for the Council on American-Islamic Relations Sacramento Valley (CAIR-SV) chapter confirmed to BuzzFeed News.
She took the next possible flight to the US, arriving the following day, and was finally reunited with her husband and son after months apart.
In a statement after Abdullah’s death, Hassan thanked people for their outpouring of support during a time of such tragedy for the family.
“We are heartbroken. We had to say goodbye to our baby, the light of our lives,” said Hassan. “We want to thank everyone for your love and support at this difficult time. We ask you to kindly keep Abdullah and our family in your thoughts and prayers.”
CAIR-SV civil rights attorney Saad Sweilem said the parents “are in our thoughts and prayers as they mourn the loss of dear Abdullah.”
“With their courage, this family has inspired our nation to confront the realities of Donald Trump’s Muslim Ban,” Sweilem said. “In his short life, Abdullah has been a guiding light for all of us in the fight against xenophobia and family separation.”
A funeral for Abdullah will be held Saturday. A crowdfunding campaign to help the family cover travel and funeral costs has been arranged.