Iraq war interpreter’s elderly mother dies after Trump’s travel ban kept her out — despite possessing green card
Mike Hager fled his native Iraq during the Gulf War and lived as a refugee for four years before finally moving to the U.S. and gaining American citizenship. On Friday, Hager was waiting in line at an airport in Iraq, where he had traveled together with some relatives to help his sick mother — a U.S. green card holder — get back to Detroit for treatment.
But Hager was the only one of his family members allowed through at the border — and his mother, stranded at the Iraqi airport, passed away the next day, according to WJBK-TV.
“They destroyed us,” Hager told the local TV station, referring to the Trump administration. “I went with my family. I came back by myself. They destroyed our family.”
Trump’s executive order, signed on the very same day Hager traveled back to Detroit, has temporarily suspended the issuing of U.S. visas and travel permits to people from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — even though no Americans have been killed on U.S. soil by citizens from either of those seven Muslim-majority nations since 1975, according to statistics tallied by the Cato Institute.
During a signing ceremony at the Pentagon, Trump claimed the order would “keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America.”
“We don’t want them here,” the President said. “We only want to admit those into our country who will support our country and love deeply our people.”
Hager, echoing a plethora of Democrats and some Republicans, blasted Trump as heartless
“You have to understand,” he said, addressing the President directly, “you have a doctor, a family, imagine if they do that to your mom.”
The White House did not immediately return a request for comment from the Daily News.
A few years after gaining citizenship, Hager returned to his war-torn home country to work for the U.S. Special Forces as an adviser and interpreter. He said he loves the U.S.
After intense backlash from politicians, civil rights leaders and thousands of protesters across the country, the Trump administration claimed on Sunday that the travel ban shouldn’t affect green card holders.
But it was already too late for Hager’s mother.
“I was just in shock,” Hager said, recalling the moment he boarded the flight as his mother was forced to stay behind. “I had to put my mom back…on the wheelchair and call the ambulance and she was very upset.”
“She would have been sitting right here next to me,” Hager added. “She’s gone because of him.”