Chicago family heartbroken that elderly mom from Sudan not allowed to travel here for cancer care

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - It was a story repeated all over the United States this weekend: families waiting in vain for relatives who had been prohibited from boarding planes overseas because of President Trump's travel ban.

In Chicago, the family of Fathia Gawish despaired. Gawish, 80, has cancer, and she regularly flies from Sudan to Chicago to undergo medical treatments in Milwaukee.

She was supposed to arrive on Sunday afternoon at O'Hare, but when Gawish went to the airport in Sudan with her visa and paperwork in hand, she was not allowed on the plane because of Trump's ban. Sudan is one of the seven countries singled out in his executive order.

"For me, I don't have feeling for America," said her despairing daughter, Heima Coogan. "We didn't support any ISIS or terrorism. We are calm people. We don't want any problem with anybody."

Coogan immigrated from Sudan almost ten years ago to help herself and her family. She is married to a U.S. citizen, works as an assistant chef and lives on Chicago's South Side. She has a United States passport.

Coogan said Trump's executive order is changing the way immigrants see the United States. She said she is beginning to question her life in America.

"If my mom can't come here to get her treatment, I'm going to leave America," she said. "I don't want to stay here, because I'm not comfortable. Part of my heart is away from me."

Meanwhile at O'Hare Airport, immigration attorneys worked all day Saturday and Sunday to help travelers who were caught up by the travel ban. On Sunday, attorneys said that at least 33 people were held for additional screening. As of Sunday night, some had been released.

 

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