A 75-year-old Iraqi with a green card died after Trump's order kept her off plane home, her son says

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Update 3:45 p.m. ET: FOX 2 TV has confirmed that Mike Hager lied in his initial story about when his mother died. She passed away before President Trump's immigration executive order was implemented, not after, the leader of a local mosque confirmed to the network Wednesday afternoon. Our original story appears below.

Detroit-area business owner Mike Hager was waiting to board a flight home from Iraq with his mother and other family members Friday when customs agents pulled his two nephews, two nieces, and 75-year-old mother from the line, saying "the president of the United States put an order right now — you guys cannot go," Hager told FOX 2 TV in Garden City, Michigan, on Tuesday. His mother, Naimma, who had fallen ill during the trip, died a day or two later. Hager and his family fled Iraq in the Gulf War, then after four years in a refugee camp, have lived in Michigan since 1995; he is a U.S. citizen, and his mother and other relatives are permanent U.S. residents, with green cards.

"I was just shocked," Hager told FOX 2's Amy Lange. "I had to put my mom back on 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's not going to make it." He blamed President Trump and his executive order banning visitors from Iraq and six other majority Muslim countries. "I really believe this in my heart," he said. "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." On Sunday, the Department of Homeland Security decided that green card holders were to be allowed to travel home to the U.S.

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Hager returned to Iraq as a military contractor during the Iraq War, serving alongside U.S. Marines and Army forces, even surviving a bullet in the back.

The White House has called the ban a temporary "inconvenience" for the more than 100 people caught up in the chaotic rollout, plus the unknown number, like Hager's mother, who were kept from boarding planes home despite valid visas and green cards.

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Peter Weber

Peter Weber is a senior editor at TheWeek.com, and has handled the editorial night shift since the website launched in 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian and plays bass and rhythm cello in an Austin rock band. Follow him on Twitter.