Mike Hager of Detroit made headlines Tuesday as the media publicized his story that his mother had died after she and the rest of his green card-holding family were refused entry to the United States in the wake of President Donald Trump’s executive order limiting travel for people from some foreign countries into the U.S.
“They destroyed us. I went with my family, I came back by myself. They destroyed our family,” the Iraqi-American told WJBK-TV in Detroit.
“The immigration told us that the president of the United States put an order right now — you guys cannot go,” he said, noting his family had lived in the United States for 20 years.
“I was just shocked. 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 said.
The story drew widespread attention. One website’s headline read, “Donald Trump has blood on his hands: A 75-year old woman died because of his Muslim ban.”
Donald Trump has blood on his hands: A 75-year old woman died because of his Muslim ban https://t.co/aVibzt9o57
— Daily Kos (@dailykos) February 1, 2017
However, the Imam at Hager’s mosque tells a different story.
Imam Husham Al-Hussainy, leader of the Karbalaa Islamic Educational Center in Dearborn, said Hager’s mother, Naimma, was not even traveling the weekend Trump’s order went into effect because she had died in Iraq on Jan. 22, several days before the order was signed.
Hager’s mother suffered from kidney disease and was receiving treatment in Michigan, but then took a trip to visit family in Iraq, Al-Hussainy said.
He said Hager told him Jan. 19 his mother was sick and he was leaving for Iraq to be with her. However, she passed away on Jan. 22.
“That’s true. The 22nd of January, his mom died,” Al-Hussainy said. “She did die, but that was a couple weeks ago, before the ban.”
When texted by a local media outlet about the contradiction between his story and that of the Imam, Hager responded, “Since I lost my mom I’ve been on heavy medication. I can’t even sleep. I did not make anything up.”
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