WASHINGTON: A former American serviceman who served in Iraq, where he was born, says his elderly mother died a day after being turned away from the U.S. as a result of President Donald Trump’s executive order abruptly banning entry to travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries.
Mike Hager, the woman’s son, said his sick mother was turned away from boarding a US-bound flight from Iraq, despite showing her green card, after the family decided to return from a visit when the 75-year-old fell ill.
One day later, Mr Hager said, his mother died.
Iraqi-born Mr Hager described his shock when he had to take his mother away from the airport terminal in her wheelchair — the last time he would see her — saying the Trump administration had “destroyed” his family.
He told Fox 2 Detroit: “They destroyed us. I went with my family, I came back by myself. They destroyed our family.
“The immigration [official] told us that the President of the United States put an order right now – you guys cannot go.
“I was just shocked. I had to put my mum back on the wheelchair and take her back and call the ambulance and she was very, very upset.
“She knew right there if we send her back to the hospital she’s going to pass away — she’s not going to make it.”
Mr Hager was born in Iraq and fled with his family during the Gulf War, at which point they lived in a refugee camp for four years before being settled in Detroit in the US, Fox 32 Detroit reported.
In the 2000s, Mr Hager returned to Iraq where he worked for the US Special forces between 2003 and 2008 as an interpreter and cultural advisor, while his mother remained in the US.
Mr Hager blamed his mother’s death on Mr Trump, and said the new policy had made him feel as though he and his family were not wanted anywhere.
“I really believe this in my heart: if they would have let us in, my mum – she would have made it and she would have been sitting right here next to me,” he said.
“She’s gone because of him. This is our home. We’ve been here for too long, we’ve been here since we were kids. If I’m not wanted overseas in Iraq and I’m not wanted here, then where do I go? What am I supposed to do with my family?”
The now business owner added: “You put the terrorists on the side, the bad people, but don’t mix everybody together.”
Since Mr Trump signed the executive order on Friday, America has temporarily suspended immigration from seven majority Muslim countries, and placed a four-month suspension on the country’s refugee programme.
More than four million people across the globe have signed an open letter addressed to the US President over the so-called “ban”, accusing him of “fear, hate mongering and bigotry”.