Although the White House said that only 109 people were affected by President Donald Trump’s travel ban, the real number is reportedly much higher. Fact-checkers for The Washington Post reported that it's actually about 90,000 people who were affected by the controversial executive order, one of whom was an Iranian baby with a serious heart defect. The 4-month-old baby girl whose family was initially denied access into the United States is only one of the travel ban’s latest victims and it shows just how heartbreaking all of this is.
According to the Associated Press, Fatemeh Reshad, the baby girl, and her family had plans to come to the United States because she was in “immediate need” of a life-saving heart surgery to fix structural abnormalities and two holes in her heart, but Iranian hospitals lacked the resources to treat the infant at home. Her family reportedly had an appointment at the U.S. Embassy in Dubai to get a tourist visa, but their plans were “abruptly canceled” after Trump announced his executive order on Jan. 27, which temporarily banned people from seven predominantly Muslim countries, including Iran, from entering the United States.
“Her parents desperately want the best care for her, so they planned to bring her from their home in Iran to Portland, Ore., to one of the best hospitals for pediatric heart surgery,” Rep. Suzanne Bonamici said to the House of Representatives on Friday, according to The Washington Post.
“She is not a terrorist,” Bonamici said while showing her colleagues a photo of the wide-eyed, smiling baby girl. “Keeping 4-month-old babies out of our country doesn’t make us safer. It puts her life in danger and diminishes the United States in the eyes of the world.”
Fortunately, after a federal judge temporarily stopped the order, the baby girl and her family will now be allowed to enter the country for the emergency procedure and should be arriving in Portland, Oregon in just a few days, according to CNN.
The Associated Press reported that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that Manhattan’s Mount Sinai Medical Center had offered to perform the critical surgery for free. But, the family chose to take their daughter to Portland, Oregon instead because the baby’s uncle and grandparents live there and the city's hospital pediatric cardiology department is one of the best.
"Bizarrely, the federal ban would prevent this child from receiving medical care and literally endanger her life," Cuomo said, according to the Associated Press. "It is repugnant to all we believe as Americans and as members of the human family."
While every immigrant and refugee's story about the travel ban has not had an outcome like Fatemeh's, it does provide a glimmer of hope in this heartbreaking situation that at least one of the order's most innocent victims is now able to get the medical attention she needs in the United States. And hopefully, in time, there will be more stories like hers.