Report: Man who claimed his mother died in Iraq because of Trump's immigration ban was lying

A Michigan business owner named Mike Hager, who was born in Iraq, told a local Fox News affiliate that his mother had been turned away from entering the country because of President Trump’s executive order on immigration. His mother had been receiving medial treatment in Michigan but traveled back to Iraq and later died. Hager said he he blamed her death directly on Trump’s ban. The only problem with the story is that, according to a local Imam, it is not true. Here’s a bit of the initial story as it appeared yesterday:

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….

He blamed 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.”

But a new story published today by the same affiliate says it’s now clear Hager was lying. Hager’s mother did travel to Iraq but, according to a local Imam, she died several days before the temporary travel ban was announced:

Imam Husham Al-Hussainy, leader of the Karbalaa Islamic Educational Center in Dearborn, says Mike Hager’s mom did not pass away this weekend after being barred from traveling to the United States. The Imam confirms that Hager’s mother died before the ban was put in place…

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.

Mike Hager has not responded to questions from the Fox affiliate. Of course the fact that this station got the story wrong the first time means we should probably take the new story with a grain of salt. But, at a minimum, there is reason to doubt the accuracy of the initial report.

Tuesday the story was being offered as Exhibit A in the case that the temporary travel ban was a disaster. Stephen Miller collected some of the many tweets promoting this over the past 24 hours. Note that some of these were retweeted thousand of times.