1. ITV Report

Yemeni parent granted visa to visit dying two-year-old son in US

Ali Hassan with his two-year-old son Abdullah in a Sacramento hospital. Credit: AP

A Yemeni mother blocked by the Donald Trump administration’s travel ban has won her fight for a waiver which would allow her to travel to California to see her dying two-year-old son.

Basim Elkarra of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Sacramento said Shaima Swileh had been granted a visa and will be flying to San Francisco on Wednesday.

She has been living in Egypt but is from Yemen, whose citizens are restricted from travelling to the US under the Trump administration’s travel ban.

Mr Elkarra said the boy’s father, Ali Hassan, is a US citizen who brought their son to California in the autumn for treatment for a genetic brain condition.

Their two-year-old son is on life support at an Oakland hospital.

Ali Hassan with his two-year-old son Abdullah. Credit: AP

Ms Swileh and the boy had been living in Egypt and she had hoped to accompany them but was not given a visa to enter the United States.

As Ms Swileh and her husband fought for a waiver, their son’s health declined. Last week, doctors at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland put him on life support.

Mr Hassan was losing hope his wife would ever be allowed into the US and was considering pulling his son off life support to end his suffering, but then a social worker at the hospital reached out to the council, whose lawyers sued, Mr Elkarra said.

"Every avenue was going to be exhausted to get this young woman to see her son," Mr Elkarra said.

Two-year-old Abdullah is on life support at an Oakland hospital. Credit: CAIR Sacramento Valley

He said Ms Swileh lost months with her child over what amounted to unnecessary delays and red tape.

"This is the happiest day of my life," Mr Hassan said in a statement provided by the council. "This will allow us to mourn with dignity."

State Department spokesman Robert Palladino called it "a very sad case," adding: "Our thoughts go out to this family at this time, at this trying time."

He said he could not comment on the family’s situation but generally cases are handled individually and officials try to facilitate legitimate travel to the United States while protecting national security.

"These are not easy questions," he said before adding: "We’ve got a lot of foreign service officers deployed all over the world that are making these decisions on a daily basis, and they are trying very hard to do the right thing at all times."