Update: 1 February 2017
Fox 2 Detroit have now reported that Hager lied in his original telling of his mother's death. A local Imam told the news channel that Hager's mother had instead died a few days before – the channel then confirmed that she had died five days prior to Trump's travel ban coming into effect.
Original story below:
A family in Detroit, Michigan are mourning the loss of their matriarch after she died in Iraq, a day after she was refused entry back into the US on 27 January — when President Donald Trump issued his controversial temporary travel ban on refugees and people from seven Muslim-majority countries.
Mike Hager had travelled to Iraq to visit family with his 75-year-old mother, Naimma, two nephews and niece. When they arrived at the airport in Iraq to board the flight back to America, Hager was allowed through as a US citizen but the other members of his family, who all hold green cards, were not allowed to fly.
"I went with my family, I came back by myself. They destroyed our family," Hager told Fox 2 Detroit.
His mother, Naimma, who had lived in Detroit since 1995, had fallen ill during the trip to Iraq. "I had to put my mom back in the wheelchair and take her back and call the ambulance and she was very, very upset. She knew right there if we send her back to the hospital she's going to pass away." She died the next day.
Hager said he blames the death on President Trump. "She's gone because of him," he told the news channel.
Born in Iraq, Hager fled during the Gulf War and spent four years in a refugee camp before coming to America.
He worked as a cultural adviser and interpreter for the US Special Forces in Iraq between 2003 and 2008 and was even shot in the back while aiding the US military.
Trump's executive order effectively banning people from certain countries and refugees was met with dismay and protest. Around the world border officials did not seem to know how to implement the order, while at home Americans crowded into airport terminals to protest against the decision.
Fox 2 reported that Hager now wonders when his other family members will be able to return to Detroit and whether he, even as an American citizen, should be worried.
"This is our home. We've been here for too long, we've been here since we were kids," he said. "If I'm not wanted overseas in Iraq and I'm not wanted here, then where do I go?"