US citizen who blamed travel ban for death of ailing mother had lied: Report

While Mr Hager was allowed to board the flight, his mother Naimma, who was attempting to seek medical treatment back in the US, and three other family members - all of whom are green card holders - were denied access.
While Mr Hager was allowed to board the flight, his mother Naimma, who was attempting to seek medical treatment back in the US, and three other family members - all of whom are green card holders - were denied access.PHOTOS: FOX 2 SCREENSHOTS
While Mr Hager was allowed to board the flight, his mother Naimma, who was attempting to seek medical treatment back in the US, and three other family members - all of whom are green card holders - were denied access.
While Mr Hager was allowed to board the flight, his mother Naimma, who was attempting to seek medical treatment back in the US, and three other family members - all of whom are green card holders - were denied access.PHOTOS: FOX 2 SCREENSHOTS

DETROIT • A resident in the US state of Michigan who blamed President Donald Trump's controversial travel ban for the death of his ailing 75-year-old mother, had lied about it, US media reported.

Mr Mike Hager, a United States citizen who lives in Detroit, had claimed he tried to board a US-bound flight with his mother, Naimma, and three other family members last Friday.

Mr Hager was allowed to pass, but his mother and family members - all of whom are green card holders - were denied access. His mother, who was ill and attempting to seek medical treatment back in the US, died a day later, he claimed.

However, a Michigan Islamic leader told WJBK that Mr Hager's mother, who suffered from kidney disease, had died five days before the ban was imposed.

The 90-day ban was targetted at itizens from seven Muslim-majority countries - Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

The order also places a four- month hold on allowing refugees into the US, and includes an indefinite ban on refugees from Syria.

Speaking to local news station WJBK-TV on Tuesday, Mr Hager - who owns a local business and has lived in Michigan with his family since 1995 - criticised Mr Trump's ban for breaking up his family.

"They destroyed us. I went with my family, I came back by myself. They destroyed our family," he said. "I really believe this in my heart. If they would have let us in, my mum - she would have made it and she would have been sitting right here next to me. She is gone because of (Mr Trump)."

When WJBK contacted Mr Hager about his lie, he replied: "Since I lost my mom, I've been on heavy medication - I can't even sleep. I did not make anything up."

Born in Iraq, Mr Hager fled his country during the Gulf War and reportedly lived in a refugee camp with his family for four years before settling down in the US.

He returned to Iraq in the 2000s to work as an interpreter and cultural adviser for the US Special Forces.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 02, 2017, with the headline 'US citizen blames travel ban for death of ailing mother'. Print Edition | Subscribe