US to allow Iranian baby into States for life-saving heart surgery

An Iranian baby banned from entering the United States for life-saving heart surgery under President Donald Trump's executive order will now be allowed to travel for the emergency procedure, officials said.

The family had an appointment in Dubai to get a tourist visa, but it was abruptly cancelled earlier this week after Mr Trump announced his executive order on immigration banning travel to the US by people from seven predominantly Muslim countries, including Iran.

Four-month-old Fatemeh Reshad was forced to return home.

Iranian doctors told the child's parents weeks ago that she needed at least one urgent surgery - and maybe several - to correct serious heart defects, or she would die, according to her uncle, Samad Taghizadeh, a US citizen who lives in Portland.

New York governor Andrew Cuomo said Manhattan's Mount Sinai Medical Centre had offered to perform the critical surgery, but the family finally chose to do it in Portland, Oregon, because of the hospital's paediatric cardiology expertise and its proximity to the baby's uncle and grandparents.

"This evening we were pleased to learn that the federal government has now granted Fatemeh Reshad and her family boarding documents to come to the United States," the governor said in a statement.

"We will continue to work with the International Refugee Assistance Project and their partners to ensure this baby receives the treatment she needs, and fight for those being unfairly shut out of America's gates by this policy."

Mr Cuomo said he worked with the organisation to help secure a government visa waiver of Mr Trump's order.

"Bizarrely, the federal ban would prevent this child from receiving medical care and literally endanger her life," Mr Cuomo said. "It is repugnant to all we believe as Americans and as members of the human family."

Doctors in Iran sent the results of tests and other records that show Fatemeh has structural abnormalities and two holes in her heart, said Jennifer Morrissey, a Portland lawyer helping with the case. She said the infant is expected in Portland early next week.

The issue is time, said Mr Taghizadeh, adding: "She's in an emergency situation and if it takes a long time, they're going to lose her."

AP

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