A 2-year-old Iraqi Yazidi boy may soon be reunited with his family in the United States after four months apart, according to CNN.
Dilbireen Muhsin, whose name means “wounded heart” in Kurdish, left his native Iraq for the United States late last year to receive vital medical treatment for severe burns on his face. A Michigan woman agreed to care for the toddler while his parents and baby brother struggled to leave their war-torn country in the face of U.S. President Donald Trump’s travel ban, according to CNN.
On Jan. 27, Trump issued an executive order to temporarily suspend immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries, including Iraq, and to temporarily halt America’s refugee program.
Dozens of families were caught up in Trump’s controversial ban. But on Feb. 3, a federal judge in Seattle issued a nationwide temporary restraining order blocking the president’s executive order. A federal appeals court ruled on Feb. 9 to uphold the restraining order.
Now, Dilbireen’s family have been issued visas, previously revoked, that allow them to come to the United States to be by their son’s side, CNN reported.
“We have confirmation that they have visas in hand, which is great news, and so now we’re organizing travel for them to come to Boston and organizing for Dilbireen to come to Boston from Michigan and resume his treatment,” Scott LaStaiti, a Los Angeles-based filmmaker and philanthropist who helped Dilbireen get medical care, told CNN on Monday. “It’s both exciting, because the family will be reunited, and very important, because now he can resume the treatment that he is desperately in need of.”
It will cost $3,740 to fly Dilbireen’s Mum and Dad to Boston. We would really appreciate your help. https://t.co/Op8B8zbtPN
— Sally Becker (@sallybecker121) February 12, 2017
Last year, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry declared that ISIS committed genocide against the Yazidis other minority groups in Iraq and Syria, including Christians and Shiite Muslims. It was the first time the United States declared a genocide since Sudan’s war-ravished Darfur region in 2006.
The Yazidis are an ethnically Kurdish religion community who live mainly in northern Iraq. According to Kerry, ISIS in 2014 trapped Yazidis, killed them and enslaved thousands of Yazidi women and girls, “selling them at auction, raping them at will and destroying the communities in which they had lived for countless generations.”
The Islamic State group also executed Christians “solely for their faith” and “forced Christian women and girls into slavery.”
Dilbireen was born in a northern Iraqi refugee camp in 2015 where his parents had been living since they were forced to flee their home on Sinjar mountain. He was severely burned on his first birthday when a heater exploded at the camp, setting fire to his crib while his mother was outside baking bread, according to CNN.
LaStaiti teamed up with his friend Sally Becker, founder of Road to Peace, a U.K.-based charity that facilitates medical treatment for sick and injured children in conflict zone, to find a hospital in Iraq that agreed to treat Dilbireen for free. They helped secure medical visas for the family last year, according to the Washington Post.
Dilbireen and his father flew to Boston, where the boy underwent his first round of surgeries at the nonprofit Shriners Hospital for Children. Dilbireen’s mother stayed behind because she was seven months pregnant at the time, the Washington Post reported.
Dilbireen’s father returned to Iraq for the baby’s birth with the plan of bringing the family to the United States to be with Dilbireen for his additional surgeries. They would travel back to Iraq once Dilbireen was finished with his treatment, according to the Washington Post.
When the family showed up at the U.S. Consulate in Irbil, more than a week after Trump issued the travel ban, they were told applications for visas has been suspended for 90 days due to the president’s executive order, the Washington Post reported.
“Iraq is their home,” LaStaiti told newspaper Sunday. “They just want their son to get the medical treatment that he needs.”
(Photo Credit: Courtesy of Addlay Kejan via CNN)
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