Congressman Jerry McNerney

Representing the 9th District of California
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Reps. McNerney, Lofgren to Bring Mother & Father Affected by Trump Travel Ban to SOTU

Feb 5, 2019
Press Release

Washington, DC – In anticipation of tonight’s State of the Union address, Congressman Jerry McNerney (CA-09) and Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (CA-19) announced Shaima Swileh and Ali Hassan will be attending the event in Washington as their invited guests. Last year, the couple struggled to obtain a visa for Ms. Swileh to come to the U.S. to be with their terminally ill 2-year-old son, Abdullah.

As a U.S. citizen, Mr. Hassan brought Abdullah to California, seeking medical treatment for a genetic brain condition that continued to worsen. However, Ms. Swileh – a Yemini national – was barred from entering the U.S. under President Trump’s Muslim ban.

“The president continues to promote immigration policies that discriminate against individuals based on their country of origin,” said Congressman McNerney. “From the travel ban’s arbitrary selection of predominantly Muslim countries, to the president’s racially charged rhetoric and unsubstantiated claims that he peddles to promote his damaging wall – these policies have consequences. Unfortunately, Ali and Shaima know this all too well. Tonight, they are here to shed light on the impact these harmful policies have on people’s lives.”

“As a candidate, Donald Trump promised to ban Muslims from entering the country and as President, he attempted to follow through on that promise,” said Congresswoman Lofgren. “It took the Administration multiple attempts and the addition of a phony waiver process to mislead the Supreme Court into allowing the Muslim Ban to be implemented. The Muslim ban separates families from their loved ones, harms businesses and creates a false notion that people are bad actors by virtue of their birthplace. I am proud to invite Shaima to bring attention to this issue and to begin holding the Administration accountable for its un-American policies.”

Ms. Swileh remained separated from her husband and son as she applied for a travel ban waiver and multiple expedition requests over the course of many months. Only after intense public outcry, and with the assistance of CAIR Sacramento, CAIR San Francisco Bay Area, CAIR California, and the National Immigration Law Center and local elected officials including Lofgren and McNerney, was Ms. Swileh granted a last minute waiver and permitted to come to the U.S. to be with her son, just weeks before he passed away.

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Rep. Jerry McNerney proudly serves the constituents of California’s 9th Congressional District that includes portions of San Joaquin, Contra Costa, and Sacramento Counties. For more information on Rep. McNerney’s work, follow him on Facebook and on Twitter @RepMcNerney.