LATE UPDATE 4:02 PM: Husham Al-Hussainy, iman of Karbalaa Islamic Educational Center, told WJBK that Mike Hager’s mother actually passed away on Jan. 22, five days before Trump’s ban was announced. It’s unclear from the follow-up story whether Hager’s mother was a green card holder. WJBK was unable to reach Hager to ask about the discrepancies in his account.
A Detroit business owner said his ailing mother, a green card holder, died this weekend after Iraqi officials refused to allow her to board a plane back to the United States because of President Donald Trump’s ban on immigration and travel from seven majority-Muslim countries.
Mike Hager, a U.S. citizen born in Iraq, told Fox News affiliate WJBK that he was bringing his 75-year-old mother Naimma back to the United States for medical treatment on Friday after she fell ill during a trip to Iraq to visit relatives. At the airport, Hager was allowed to pass through security because of his citizenship but his mother, two nephews and niece—all of whom had green cards—were refused. His mother died the next day.
“They destroyed us. I went with my family, I came back by myself. They destroyed our family,” Hager said.
Iraq is one of the seven countries whose citizens are forbidden entry to the U.S. for 90 days under Trump’s travel ban. The Trump administration said that green card holders, who are legal permanent residents, were not meant to be affected by the ban, but a number were detained at U.S. airports or refused entry to the country during the ban’s confused overnight rollout.
Hager told WJBK that his mother had lived in the U.S. since 1995. He blames her sudden passing on Trump.
“I really believe this in my heart: if they would have let us in, my mom – she would have made it and she would have been sitting right here next to me,” he said. “She’s gone because of him.”
Hager said he and his family fled Iraq as refugees during the Gulf War, and he later returned to his native country to serve as an interpreter and cultural advisor for the U.S. during the Iraq War.