(ATLANTA, GA, 12/12/2017) - On Wednesday, December 13th, the Georgia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations plans to hold a press conference with a Georgia family that is calling on the Trump administration to grant their cancer-stricken relative entry to the United States for medical treatment at Emory Eye Care Center.
"We ask the Trump administration to immediately allow this ailing grandfather to return to Atlanta for medical treatment before his cancer spreads beyond the point of no return," said Edward Ahmed Mitchell, executive director of CAIR-Georgia. "If this gentleman dies, a daughter will lose her father, four grandchildren will lose their grandfather, and a husband will lose his father-in-law, to an illness that was treatable."
"I beg President Trump to let my father come back to Georgia so that doctors can treat his cancer," said Mrs. Bana Al-Bitar, a Roswell resident and daughter of Mr. Mohammed Al-Bitar. "This has nothing to do with politics or security. This is about family."
WHAT: Press Conference with Georgia Family Seeking Medical Waiver to Travel Ban
WHEN: Wednesday, Dec. 13, 11:00 a.m.
WHERE: I.B.E.W. Building, 501 Pulliam Street, Suite 310, Atlanta, GA 30312
SEE: CAIR Says U.S. Supreme Court's Decision on Trump’s Muslim Ban Ignores Impact on Citizens and Their Relatives Abroad
Bana Al-Bitar, a Syrian-American teacher, lives in Roswell with her husband, a mechanical engineer. Al-Bitar's father is Mohammad Samir Al-Bitar, a 76-year-old Syrian citizen and retired businessman who lives in Damascus with his wife.
Mr. Al-Bitar--who visited Georgia in 2013, 2014, and 2015 to spend time with his grandchildren--was recently diagnosed with a cancerous eye tumor. The tumor requires a unique medical treatment that is unavailable in Syria or surrounding Middle Eastern nations. However, a hospital in Atlanta is able and willing to offer the procedure.
His first application for a visa to return to the United States for medical treatment was denied by the State Department, so he applied a second time with assistance from CAIR Georgia and a local elected official.
Mr. Al-Bitar's second visa application was undergoing "administrative processing," including review of the Administration's new DS-5535 form--which requires selected immigrants to share information about their social media accounts, family members, and past employment--when the Supreme Court reinstated the Trump Administration's travel restrictions on Syrian immigrants.
Now, Mr. Al-Bitar cannot enter the United States without a special waiver.
Mitchell added, "This is a classic example of a case in which the President's travel ban should not apply. We have nothing to fear from a sick grandfather seeking medical treatment."