UPDATE, 3:54 pm: The leader of a Dearborn, Michigan mosque confirmed to Fox 2 Detroit that Hager lied about his mother dying because of Trump's ban. Imam Husham Al-Hussainy told the station that Hager's mother actually died five days before Trump signed the executive order. We have updated the headline of the story to reflect this new information.
Mike Hager is a U.S. citizen and business owner in Detroit, MI, who served his country as a translator with the Special Forces in Iraq. But when he tried to travel with his elderly mother, a green card holder, from his native Iraq to America for medical treatment, she was denied entry, and Hager says she died just days later.
Now he personally blames President Donald Trump–who on Friday signed an executive order banning travel and immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries–for his 75-year-old mother Naimma's death.
"They destroyed us. I went with my family, I came back by myself. They destroyed our family," he told Detroit's Fox 2. "She's gone because of him."
Hager, who fled his home during the Gulf War and lived in a refugee camp with his family for four years, was traveling back to the U.S. with his nephews, niece, and mother on Friday when immigration officials in Iraq told his family they couldn't board, despite holding green cards granting them permanent residence in the U.S.
"I had to put my mom back on the wheelchair and take her back and call the ambulance and she was very very upset," he said. "She knew right there if we send her back to the hospital she's going to pass away–she's not going to make it."
Although Trump signed the executive order while he was in Iraq, Hager said he didn't imagine they would have any problems getting back since his mother had lived in the U.S. since 1995.
Now, he told the local station that he's not sure when he'll see his family again. He's also left feeling uncertain about his own immigration status, despite being a U.S. citizen.
Trump's executive order prompted outrage and protests across the United States and around the world. Hager's story shows why.
Watch the video of the interview here.