The Supreme Court approved Trump's travel ban, preventing visitors from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen from entering the country, and now it appears a bright young group of girls from Afghanistan are facing a ban by the U.S. government aimed at them.
Forbes reports that the Afghan all-girl robotics team was denied a one-week travel visa to participate in an international competition scheduled for mid-July in Washington, D.C. The team risked their lives to travel to the nation's capital of Kabul — which is 500 miles away and where multiple suicide bombings occurred in the last few months — from their small town of Herat. The group even tried a second time hoping that U.S. officials would change their mind and grant them proper documentation, but they were turned away both times.
Roya Mahboob, Afghanistan's first female tech CEO who brought the girls together, told the site "they were crying all day." While the exact reason for the visa denial remains confidential, Forbes further reports that according to the State Department records, only 32 B1/B2 business travel visas were granted in April 2017. That's a number that pales in comparison to nearby countries like Pakistan and Iraq, where thousands of visas were issued.
Instead of withdrawing from the competition, the group of six girls didn't give up. Their supplies cleared customs, after being held up for months, and they were able to finish their contraption. FIRST Global President and former Congressman Joe Sestak confirmed that the "extraordinarily brave young women" will at least be able to video conference into the competition from their hometown miles and miles away.
Fortunately, teams from Iraq, Iran and Sudan all obtained their visas. At this point, only the contestants from Afghanistan and Gambia were denied visas.