A 4-month-old girl's trip to Portland, Oregon, for a surgical consultation was blocked on Jan. 28 by President Donald Trump's travel ban against seven predominantly Muslim countries (video below).
"She needs the surgery as soon as possible," Sam Taghizadeh, the girl's American uncle, told KPTV.
The child, Fatemah, has a heart condition and is scheduled to have a surgical consultation at Oregon Health & Science University on Feb. 5.
But Fatemah and her parents are from Iran, one of the countries whose citizens have been banned from entering the U.S. by Trump's executive order.
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Taghizadeh explained that Fatemah's parents were worried about the quality of medical care in Iran, so they made plans to bring her to OHSU:
Over there it's a very high risk because that is open heart surgery ... Everything was okay. They asked for a lot of paperwork. We did. She got the appointment, February 5 in the morning ... For getting the visa, they ask for a lot of the paperwork. You have to do many things. For three weeks we working for every single thing they wanted, you have to translate it.
When the family landed in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to apply for a tourist visa at the U.S. consulate, they were turned away and had to go back to Iran. Iran does not have a U.S. embassy, so Iranians must travel to another country to apply for visas to the U.S.
"All the paper, everything was ready, and just in the last minute, they canceled everything," Taghizadeh stated.
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According to Fatemah's doctor, the baby needs the surgery soon.
"They cannot wait," Taghizadeh told the news station. "Even I asked them, can they wait a couple other years? They said no. This thing has to be as soon as possible ... It's like a nightmare, in the one night everything changes. Now you don't know what you're going to do."
Taghizadeh said he wanted to give Trump a chance, but now he worries for his niece, who is back in Iran.
"Why we came to U.S., we came here for freedom," Taghizadeh. "For a better life. I'm feeling nowhere is safe."
U.S. District Judge Andre Birotte Jr. issued a ruling on Jan. 31 that bans federal officials from "removing, detaining, or blocking the entry" of travelers, who are affected by Trump's travel order, or "cancelling validly obtained and issued immigrant visas of plaintiffs," notes the Los Angeles Times.
Several other federal judges have issued similar rulings, but it appears that airport officials in various cities are not following those rulings.