A Yemeni mother finally got the chance this week to hold her terminally ill son after the Trump administration’s travel ban kept her out of the U.S. for months.
Shaima Swileh arrived Wednesday night to San Francisco International Airport after obtaining a visa waiver to visit her 2-year-old son, who is on life support at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland, California. Swileh was greeted by a crowd of supporters from the Bay Area Muslim community and beyond.
It was her first chance to see her son, Abdullah, since he came to the U.S. in October to be treated for a genetic brain condition. The child is not expected to live much longer, but Swileh had been barred from the country due to the Trump administration’s travel ban, her husband, Ali Hassan, said earlier this week. The ban restricts travel from some Muslim-majority nations, including Yemen, Iran and Syria.
The State Department granted Swileh a waiver on Tuesday, allowing her to come to the U.S. to see her child.
“This is a difficult time for our family but we are blessed to be together,” Hassan, who is American, told reporters at the airport on Wednesday. “I ask you to respect our privacy as we go to be with our son again.”
The advocacy group Council on American-Islamic Relations, which has been supporting the family, released a photo on Thursday of Swileh holding Abdullah in the hospital.
“It should never have come to this. Shaima should never have been separated from her son as his condition deteriorated,” CAIR wrote Thursday on Twitter. “This shows the cruelty of the Muslim Ban. And so many more families are separated.”