Lawyer: Iranian family thrilled baby to be treated in US

Fatemah Rashad will be treated in US.
Fatemah Rashad will be treated in US.

The family of an Iranian infant who was temporarily banned from coming to the United States for life-saving heart surgery is "overwhelmingly relieved and thrilled" the child will now be able to have the treatment, their lawyer said.

Jennifer Morrissey, a lawyer representing the family of Fatemeh Reshad, said the family had been expected to travel to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates for pre-clearance after a Seattle judge blocked enforcement of President Donald Trump's immigration and refugee ban.

Lawyers had been seeking an exemption from the travel ban on the family's behalf, Morrissey said at Oregon Health Sciences University's Doernbecher Children's Hospital, where Fatemah will be treated. She called the case "an extremely poignant example of the impact of the ban".

Fatemeh's family previously had an appointment in Dubai to get a tourist visa. But it was abruptly cancelled last week after Trump announced his executive order on immigration, banning travel to the US by people from seven predominantly Muslim countries, including Iran.

The 4-month-old girl was forced to return home.

Iranian doctors told the child's parents weeks ago that she needed at least one urgent surgery - and maybe several - to correct serious heart defects, or she will die, according to her uncle, Samad Taghizadeh, a US citizen who lives in Portland.

More than 40 people from Iran arrived at Logan International Airport in Boston yesterday. The decision to temporarily halt Trump's denial of entry had created an opening.

Amid the euphoria and excitement, the Jalili family of Iran passed through the checkpoints at Logan and onto American soil in a heartbroken state, even though their dream to emigrate - 10 years in the making - had been revived by the federal judge. At the last minute, after passing through security in Tehran Airport, officials would not let their oldest daughter, 19-year-old Helya, board the Boston-bound plane. She was kept back with about 15 others whose names were called. They got no explanation.

- AP, Washington Post

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