This article originally appeared on Time.
A former American serviceman who served in Iraq, where he was born, says his sick mother died a day after being turned away from the U.S. as a result of President Donald Trump’s executive order abruptly banning entry to travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries.
Mike Hager told Fox 2 Detroit that he had traveled to Iraq before the order was implemented, with several family members who were permanent U.S. residents, when his mother fell ill. None of them expected any trouble on their return; Hager is a U.S. citizen, and his mother has lived in the U.S. since 1995. She had a green card.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter for the latest in hair, beauty, style and celebrity news.
But when they checked in at the airport in Iraq, only Hager was allowed through. He left his family behind and returned to his home in Michigan. One day later, he told the broadcaster, his mother passed away.
“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,” Hager told Fox 2 Detroit, recalling the moment they were pried apart at the terminal. “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 and his family reportedly fled Iraq during the Gulf War. After spending four years in a refugee camp, they were resettled in the U.S., Fox 2 reports. A few years later, he decided to return to his home country as an American serviceman, working with the U.S. Special Forces as an interpreter and adviser.
He believes his mother would have survived if she had been able to return to her home and seek treatment, Fox 2 said.
“They destroyed us,” Hager told Fox 2. “I went with my family, I came back by myself. They destroyed our family.”