A local Fox News affiliate is reporting that the Detroit business owner who told the network that his Iraqi mother died because of President Trump's executive order on refugees and immigration was lying. As it turns out, she died days before Trump's order was issued.
Wednesday evening, FOX 2 updated its story on Mike Hager, a U.S. citizen who had reportedly fled Iraq during the Gulf War and served as a U.S. Army interpreter for the Iraq War. Hager made headlines after claiming that the temporary confusion about the admission of green card holders had forced his severely sick 75-year-old mother to remain in Iraq instead of flying back to the States to receive emergency treatment. Hager claimed she died in an Iraqi hospital because of Trump's order.
But FOX 2 has now learned that Hager's mother, Naimma, actually died on January 22, five days before Trump signed the order. After doing some digging, the outlet received confirmation that Hager's mother had died earlier from the local Imam:
After the story aired on FOX 2 and was posted on FOX2Detroit.com, we received many questions about the validity of Hager's claims that his mother died waiting to be approved to come home. FOX 2 has confirmed that his mother died five days earlier.
According to Al-Hussainy, Hager's mother had kidney disease and was receiving treatment in Michigan - where she lived - before traveling to Iraq to visit family. The Imam said she passed away on January 22, 2017, five days before President Trump instituted the travel ban.
"That's true. The 22nd of January, his mom died," Al-Hussainy said. "She did die but that was a couple weeks ago - before the ban."
Al-Hussainy says Hager contacted him on January 19th to tell him his mother was very sick with kidney disease and he was going to Iraq to be with her. She died there on January 22nd and another mosque in the Detroit area here even held a prayer service in her honor.
When FOX 2 reached out to Hager for comments, he responded by insisting he didn't "make anything up" and claiming he was on "heavy medication."
"Since I lost my momIi've [sic] been on heavy medication - I can't even sleep. I did not make anything up," he wrote.
Concerning Trump's controversial order, Al-Hussainy, who Fox notes voted for Trump, called for "peace and patience."
"There is confusion," said Al-Hussainy. "There is a mix that they have to distinguish between good refugees and bad refugees—and if this is what it takes to stop them for a while, to screen them, that's fine for the security of the country."
In his original interview with the outlet, Hager claimed that when his mother become extremely ill while the two of them were visiting family in Iraq, they decided to fly back, but she was blocked because of the confusion about the status of green card holders. She was thus forced to return to an Iraqi hotel, where she allegedly died.
"I was just shocked. I had to put my mom back on the wheelchair and take her back and call the ambulance and she was very very upset," Hager told FOX 2. "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."
He laid the blame squarely at Trump's feet: "I really believe this in my heart: if they would have let us in, my mom—she would have made it and she would have been sitting right here next to me. She's gone because of him. You have to understand you have a daughter—you have family—imagine if somebody does that to your mom. You put the terrorists on this side—the bad people—but don't mix everyone together."
On Friday, Trump signed an executive order temporarily pausing the admission of all refugees and halting immigration from seven terror-risk countries, including Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen—countries the Obama administration had also singled out as "countries of concern."
After Trump issued the executive order, there was initially confusion about the status of green card holders, resulting in some travelers being temporarily detained. By Sunday, the issue was cleared up after the Department of Homeland Security Sec. John Kelly issued a statement declaring all lawful residents could enter the country.
While there have been multiple stories about tragedies and confusion surrounding Trump's order, including Hager's apparent hoax story, the establishment media has not devoted any energy into all the problems created by the well-funded protests by the left that converged on the airports in response, likewise temporarily shutting down travel for many.
This article has been updated to include new information from FOX 2 debunking Hager's claims and more quotes from Al-Hussainy.