Story highlights

NEW: NY governor says infant and family received boarding documents to come to the US

Fatemeh's family was denied a visa to the US; she needs urgent surgery to fix birth defect

CNN  — 

An Iranian baby with a serious heart defect will soon get the medical attention she needs in the United States.

They initially had been scheduled to meet Sunday with doctors in Portland but had been barred from traveling from Tehran, Fatemeh’s uncle, Samad Teghizadeh, told CNN.

Several congressional Democrats released a letter Friday evening asking Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to grant a waiver for the child and her parents.

Though the baby’s heart surgery is still in limbo, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo released a statement on Friday about the family being able to come to the US.

“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,” Cuomo said.

“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.”

Last month, Iranian doctors in Tehran told Fatemeh’s family that the 4-month-old has structural abnormalities and two holes in her heart, but they lacked the resources to treat the infant.

Fatemeh and her parents boarded a flight to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, but they were rerouted back to Iran and told to reapply for a US visa in 90 days.

Teghizadeh worried his niece wouldn’t make it until then.

The delay comes after Trump’s executive order put an abrupt stop on travel to the US for citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, including Iran.

The 4-month-old needs urgent heart surgery.

State and federal officials intervened on behalf of the family, Amber Murray, a Washington-based immigration attorney working on the case, told CNN.

A call for help

Murray is helping the family obtain an emergency waiver to navigate around the ban.

If the waiver fails, the family could consider applying on a humanitarian basis, which could take 30-90 days, Murray advised.

Attorneys contacted State Department officials to help the family obtain an emergency waiver to navigate around the ban.

“I’m very concerned,” Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said in a press conference Thursday.

“I find it deplorable that an infant, who was supposed to come to Oregon to receive much needed lifesaving care, was not able to access that care at Oregon Health Sciences University,” Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said at a press conference Thursday.

The governor’s office connected with the family to determine if medical help could be provided, Brown spokesman Bryan Hockaday told CNN.

Fatemeh’s family contacted the office of Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon, for help.

Merkley took “interest in the case and assigned a case worker from his office to work as a facilitator between the family and immigration lawyers,” the senator’s communications director Sara Hottman told CNN on Thursday.

“He’s involved and very personally interested in this issue, being very opposed to this ban as it’s having potentially devastating effect on lives,” Hottman said.

That leverage apparently included the letter to Tillerson, which Merkley’s office sent with other congressional Democrats from the state.

“Whether Fatemeh and her family are allowed access to this urgent and necessary medical care in the United States will determine whether she lives or dies,” they wrote.

The Democrats said granting the waiver would be “moral and humanitarian” as well as send a signal that “even in the face of highly strained diplomatic relations, the United States offers help to those suffering tragic circumstances.”

The surgery

Doctors from around the country and from Canada and Germany responded to calls for help, Murray told CNN.

“She has a fairly complicated anatomy with a muscular VSD,” Murray said, referring to a ventricular septal defect.

A ventricular septal defect (VSD), is a common heart defect present at birth due to an abnormal connection between the ventricles or lower chambers of the heart, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Doctors are awaiting more of Fatemeh’s medical records, but the initial diagnosis indicates she also has other heart complications, including an atrial septal defect – a “hole” in the wall that separates the top two chambers of the heart.

Fatemeh’s family is hoping a doctor will perform the surgeries pro-bono.

Physicians in Tehran sent the results of Fatemeh’s echocardiogram to doctors in Portland, who reviewed her case and said she needs to be operated on urgently.

Teghizadeh, who has been an American citizen for seven years, lives with his parents in Portland – Fatemeh’s grandparents – who are also US citizens.

“This is my home. We live here. My work and everything is in the US,” said Teghizadeh, the child’s uncle. “Believe me, if I didn’t have a brother and sister in Iran, I wouldn’t go there. This is our home.”

He said he just wants his sister’s baby to get the care she needs.

CNN’s Eli Watkins and Rob Frehse contributed to this report.