Yemeni mother arrives in the Bay Area to say goodbye to her dying son

ByKate Larsen KGO logo
Thursday, December 20, 2018
Yemeni mother of 2-year-old boy on life support arrives in Oakland
The mother of a dying boy, who has spent months fighting for a visa, arrived to a media crush in the Bay Area.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Shaima Swileh arrived at San Francisco International Airport from Cairo Wednesday night. She held hands with her husband, Ali Hassan, who has been in the Bay Area getting medical treatment for their 2-year-old son Abdullah, who is on life support.

"This is a difficult time for our family, but we are blessed to be together," said Hassan at a press conference at the airport.

RELATED: Yemeni mom granted US visa to be with dying 2-year-old son in Oakland

Ali Hassan and Abdullah are naturalized U-S citizens and flew to the Bay Area in August to get treatment at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital in Oakland for Abdullah's rare brain condition. Shaima is a Yemeni national and was not able to get a visa because of President Trump's travel ban on many majority-Muslim countries.

"The Muslim ban has hurt many families," said Hassan.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations or CAIR and Nimer Law filed a lawsuit on Monday against the U.S. State Department for delaying Shaima's spousal visa, which they say she applied for in 2017.

"The result of that failure is that a dying two-year-old boy has suffered for the last two months without his mother by his side for no apparent reason," said Banan Al-Akhras, an immigration attorney with Nimer Law.

CAIR says the family reached out to the U.S. embassy in Cairo 28 times this year and that it wasn't until their lawsuit, news coverage and public outcry, that Shaima was granted her visa on Tuesday. Al-Akhras says the U.S. waiver process is a sham.

"The fact that they ultimately approved her, showed that there was no problem with her case to begin with and that she should have been approved months ago."

RELATED: Family pleads for waiver to allow Yemeni mom to visit dying 2-year-old at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland

Shaima and Ali headed straight to the hospital from the airport. Unfortunately, according to CAIR, Abdullah likely only has a few more days to live, but now the family can say goodbye together.

Many people in the Yemeni-American community at the airport Tuesday night, pointed out that there are thousands of "Shaimas" separated from their families because of the Trump Administration's travel ban.