The mother of a 22-year-old Navy veteran who died shortly after being diagnosed with leukemia was absent from her son's funeral after the U.S. government twice denied her request for a visa.
Ngoc Truong served four years before leaving the U.S. Navy in October 2017. The young man had planned to go to school for graphic design in Florida, according to WREG.
In a tragic turn of events, doctors determined the veteran had leukemia. He died suddenly on Dec. 17, 2017.
The Navy man's father, Hung Truong, lives in the U.S. and owns a jewelry store in Blytheville, Arkansas. He told WREG that he was "fuming mad" that Ngoc's Vietnam-born mother was denied entry to the U.S., despite applying two times.
Hung said one of his son's favorite presidential quotes was the famous line from John F. Kennedy's inaugural address:
"Ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what you can do for your country."
But Hung does not feel the U.S. has done enough for his son.
"He's already done for this country, but what has this country done for him?" Hung said. "What did this country do for him?"
Hung told WREG he doesn't know why his ex-wife's visa request was denied. The State Department declined to explain further, emailing the news station that "Visa records are confidential under U.S. law" and that they are "unable to explain" case details.
KGO-TV reported a similar case in August 2017 in which another Vietnamese mother was denied a visa to visit her terminally ill daughter for the last time.
Trinh Phan of San Jose, California -- who became a U.S. citizen in 2010 after coming from Vietnam in 2003 -- was worsening quickly from lung cancer. A family member said she'd lost 50 pounds in a short period, including 25 pounds in just two weeks at the hospital.
Phan, a nonsmoker, a wife and mother of an 8-year-old child, wanted to see her mother one last time. Her Vietnamese mother was denied U.S. entry several times due to the belief that she might overstay her visa.
After going public with a Change.org petition and speaking to the media, Phan's mother's case got the attention of Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California. She took it upon herself to contact the State Department and President Donald Trump to reverse the decision.
The family and Lofgren said Phan's mother was not an overstay risk since she has a sick husband and grandchildren to care for in Vietnam. Unlike Ngoc's mother, she was granted the visa.