Update, July 15, 11:02 am:

The latest news report is that the Afghan young women's robotics team has arrived in the United States to attend the competition after the president's personal intervention to bring them here on parole after they had been refused visas by the US embassy.

Congratulations, Mr. President! People of good will throughout the whole world support you on this one!

My original comment appears below:

POLITICO reports on July 12 that Donald Trump, in a move that is truly worthy of the dignity of his high office and of his election night promise to be the president of all the American people, without regard to race, color or religion, has overruled the US State Department and intervened to allow a team of young women high school students from Afghanistan (whom press reports keep referring to as "girls" - I don't notice that our media call all male high school team members in any field as "boys" very often) to come to the United States through parole to participate in a robotics competition from which they had been barred when the US embassy refused their visa applications.


POLITICO quotes Dina Powell, the president's deputy national security adviser for strategy as issuing the following statement:

"We could not be prouder of this delegation of young women who are also scientists - they represent the best of the Afghan people and embody the promise that their aspirations can be fulfilled. They are future leaders of Afghanistan and strong ambassadors for their country."

POLITICO also comments, accurately and with insight, as follows:

"Critics had argued that the visa denials sent the wrong message to the people of Afghanistan, where U.S. troops are still fighting Taliban militants who once barred girls from attending school. The denials bolstered allegations that Trump is, via executive orders and other means, trying to impose a ban on Muslims entering the United States. The visa rejections also undercut the administration's insistence that it cares about empowering women globally."

The same POLITICO story also points out that the robotics team members from Iran, which, unlike Afghanistan, is on the banned list of Muslim countries, were granted visas to attend the competition without any difficulty.

One might also ask whether, if young people with the impressive achievements in the face of great difficulties that these team members have shown are not allowed to come to the United States to attend a event that is so directly connected to their accomplishments, what was the point of the US sending troops to Afghanistan in the first place?

If America were so unwilling to recognize and support these young women, we might just as well have left the Taliban alone to control that country in the first place.

But this raises the larger issue of Trump's Muslim ban policy. Was the entire purpose of sending so many young American soldiers to die in Iraq and Afghanistan to bring the American ideal of freedom and democracy to the Muslim world, on the condition that no one from that part of the world ever enters America?

And, further, does not the initial denials of visas to these brave and distinguished you scientists show that the spirit, if not the actual intent, of the president's Muslim ban executive orders is to affect citizens of many other, if not all, Muslim countries of the world - in keeping with his original December 2015 campaign promise?

Roger Algase
Attorney at Law