Detroit family caught in Iraq travel ban, says mom died waiting to come home
DETROIT (WJBK) - The leader of a mosque in Dearborn has confirmed to FOX 2 that a man who claimed his mother died in Iraq after being barred from returning to the United States under a ban instituted by President Trump this weekend, lied to FOX 2 about when her death occurred. CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS
A local business owner who flew to Iraq to bring his mother back home to the US for medical treatment said she was blocked from returning home under President Trump's ban on immigration and travel from seven predominately Muslim nations. He said that while she was waiting for approval to fly home, she died from an illness. FOX 2 has learned that claim was not true.
Mike Hager was born in Iraq, returned there during the Iraq War and worked alongside United States Marines and Army forces. He now owns a business in Metro Detroit and said his mom would still be alive today if President Donald Trump had not instituted his travel ban on Muslim countries.
Hager said he was returning home with his family that included his sick mom. He said his mom has lived in the United States since 1995 and as they were waiting in line at the airport in Iraq on Friday, he was told that he could pass through because he was a U.S. citizen. But his family members - including his mom - weren't allowed, despite holding green cards, he said.
"They destroyed us. I went with my family, I came back by myself. They destroyed our family," Hager said.
After fleeing his home country during Gulf War, he lived in a refugee camp with his family for four years before settling in the United States. In the 2000s, he returned to Iraq where he worked as a contractor for the United States military between 2003 and 2008 as an interpreter and cultural advisor. He even survived being shot in the back while serving.
He says he's a proud American citizen whose family has now been torn apart.
"The immigration told us that the President of the United States put an order right now - you guys cannot go," he told FOX 2's Amy Lange.
He said they traveled to Iraq to visit family and when his mom fell ill, he didn't expect it to be a problem for the family to travel since they all had green cards and 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.
He told FOX 2 that Naimma died after being turned away. FOX 2 has learned that his mother died on January 22, 2017, five days before the ban was put into place.
He blamed her death on President Trump.
"I really believe this in my heart: if they would have let us in, my mom - she would have made it and she would have been sitting right here next to me," Hager said. "She's gone because of him."
On Friday, January 27, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order banning travelers from seven majority-Muslim countries.
Travelers from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia are banned from traveling to the United States for 90 days so the country can detect "individuals with terrorist ties and stopping them from entering the United States."
"This is our home. We've been here for too long, we've been here since we were kids," Hager said. "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?"
Hager is mourning more than his mother; he's also mourning the way of life he believes that makes America great. He also has this message for the Commander in Chief:
"You have to understand you have a daughter - you have family - imagine if somebody does that to your mom. You put the terrorists on this side - the bad people - but don't mix everyone together," Hager said.
The leader of a mosque in Dearborn has confirmed to FOX 2 that a man who claimed his mother died in Iraq after being barred from returning to the United States under a ban instituted by President Trump this weekend, lied to FOX 2 about when her death occurred. CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS