Iranian Infant Allowed to Come to the US for an Emergency

February 4th 2017

Willie Burnley Jr.

When President Trump issued his now-halted executive order, it barred travelers, refugees, and even those seeking medical care from much of the Middle East, including an infant named Fatemah Reshad, who was heading to Oregon for an open heart surgery. Luckily, the infant and her family were granted an emergency waiver to enter and will be able to fly to New York City, where Mount Sinai doctors will perform services pro bono, according to The Guardian.

On Friday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo released a statement that read as part-celebration of the waiver and part-condemnation of the federal government’s role in risking the infant’s life. “Bizarrely, the federal ban would prevent this child from receiving medical care and literally endanger her life," he said. "It is repugnant to all we believe as Americans and as members of the human family.”

The family reportedly chose to come to the United States because the survival rate of open heart surgery is far higher than in Iran. They have family members in Oregon who are US citizens who told local news stations how difficult the situation had been for them.

“For getting the visa, they ask for a lot of the paperwork,” Sam Taghizadeh, Fatemah’s uncle, said. “You have to do many things, you know. For three weeks we [were] working for every single thing they wanted...“It’s like a nightmare. All the paper, everything was ready, and just in the last minute they canceled everything...She needs the surgery as soon as possible,” he said. “They cannot wait, you know. Even I asked, can they wait a couple [more] years? They said no. This thing has to be as soon as possible.”

After the surgery is completed, the family will be flown back to Iran at no cost, as the international law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison said that it would pay for all expenses the family racks up while entering, in, and leaving the country.