‘Because of him’

Man says his elderly mom died in Iraq after being barred from entering U.S. by travel ban

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(Xinhua/Wang Ying via Getty Images)

A Detroit man said his 75-year-old mother who fell sick on a trip with family died in Iraq, just one day after being barred from re-entering the U.S. due to a the controversial executive order by President Donald Trump barring citizens and refugees from certain Muslim-majority countries entry into the nation.

Mike Hager, a Michigan business owner who left Iraq for the U.S. during the Gulf War, had been visiting his home country with his niece, two nephews, and his 75-year-old mother, Naimma, when his mother suddenly fell ill. As the family prepared to fly back home to get Naimma medical care, officials at the Iraqi airport reportedly told Hager that while he, an American citizen, could board the flight, his green-card carrying niece, nephews and mother would have to remain behind.

“I was just shocked,” said Hager. “I had to put my mom 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.”

Hager, who worked alongside special forces in Iraq between 2003 and 2008, said that his mother might have had a shot at surviving had he been able to get her to facilities in the U.S. If it weren’t for Trump, Hager said, his mother might still be alive.

“I really believe this in my heart: If they would have let us in … she would have made it, and she would have been sitting right here next to me,” Hager said. “She’s gone because of him.”

According to a Fox News report published Wednesday, an imam of a mosque in Dearborn, Michigan has claimed that Hager’s mother in fact died five days before Trump’s executive order was put in place. Fox is reportedly trying to contact Hager for further details.

Read the full story at New York Magazine.

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