DETROIT (WJBK) - A local business owner flies to Iraq to bring his mother back home to the US for medical treatment. But under President Trump's ban on immigration and travel from seven predominately Muslim nations, he was forced to leave his family behind.
His mother died just one day after being told she couldn't return to the United States.
Mike Hager fled Iraq with his family during the Gulf War, returned during the Iraq war and worked alongside United States Marines and Army forces. He now owns a business in Metro Detroit and said his mom would still be alive today if President Donald Trump had not instituted his travel ban on Muslim countries.
Mike Hager said he was returning home with his family that included his sick mom. They were returning home to the United States where his mother has lived since 1995. As they were waiting in line at the airport in Iraq on Friday, he was told that he could pass through because he was a U.S. citizen. But his family members - including his mom - weren't allowed, despite holding green cards.
"They destroyed us. I went with my family, I came back by myself. They destroyed our family," Hager said.
Hager was born in Iraq and fled during the Gulf War. He lived in a refugee camp with his family for four years before settling in the United States. In the 2000s, he returned to Iraq where he worked as a contractor for the United States Special forces between 2003 and 2008 as an interpreter and cultural advisor. He even survived being shot in the back while serving.
He's a proud American citizen whose family has now been torn apart.
"The immigration told us that the President of the United States put an order right now - you guys cannot go," he told FOX 2's Amy Lange.
Hager, his niece, and two nephews were traveling with his 75-year-old mother, Naimma, home to Michigan. They traveled to Iraq to visit family and when she fell ill. Hager said he didn't expect it to be a problem for the family to travel since they all had green cards and had lived in the United States for 20 years.
"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. 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," Hager said.
Sadly, he was right. Naimma, lived in the United States since 1995, wasn't allowed to come home. She died in her native country. Hager said if it weren't for the order, his mom would still be alive today.
He blames her death on President Trump.
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," Hager said. "She's gone because of him."
Just as the family was traveling, President Trump signed an executive order banning travelers from seven majority-Muslim countries.
Travelers from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia are banned from traveling to the United States for 90 days so the country can detect "individuals with terrorist ties and stopping them from entering the United States."
Hager says he has no idea when his nephews and niece will be able to return to the United States and he's worried about his own status - even though he is an American citizen.
"This is our home. We've been here for too long, we've been here since we were kids," Hager said. "If I'm not wanted overseas in Iraq and I'm not wanted here, then where do I go? What am I supposed to do with my family?"
Hager is mourning more than his mother; he's also mourning the way of life he believes that makes America great. He also has this message for the Commander in Chief:
"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," Hager said.