A group of six high-school age girls - some of the leading robotics engineering students in Afghanistan - were denied visas to enter the U.S. just as President Trump's newly instituted Muslim-nation travel ban.
Do you feel safer yet?
The six-girl team hails from the city of Herat, Afghanistan, in the western part of the country which borders Iran. They were planning to travel to the U.S. to participate in the FIRST Global Challenge, a conference for engineering and technological solutions to the world's many problems.
The team made the dangerous 500-mile trip across the war-torn country to the U.S. Embassy in the capital of Kabul (which has recently been the target of suicide bombings) to apply for visas. While Afghanistan is not one of the 6 countries named in Trump's newly implemented travel ban, the girls were unanimously denied their visa requests.
Roya Mahboob, one of the team's sponsors, told Mashable that the girls were utterly devastated when they found out they would not be able to travel to the competition:
"...It was very difficult talking with the students.
They're young and they were very upset."
The U.S. State Department has yet to comment on the girls' visa application denial, but it's safe to assume that they were rebuffed on grounds that they couldn't prove a "bona fide" relationship to a person or entity in the United States. But how does that hold any water when Afghanistan is supposed to be exempt from the travel ban?
On the page for the Afghani girls' robotics team, the girls claim that they "...want to develop and explore our minds and creativity and maybe unveil the genius inside each one of us."
"We want to make a difference...
Breakthroughs in science, technology, and other industries normally start with the dream of a child to do something great. We want to be that child and pursue our dreams to make a difference in people's lives."
This is exactly what many feared would happen when Trump began spouting off about his fantasy of a Muslim ban during the campaign cycle, that innocent people would be denied entry to the U.S. just based on their nationality, and more troublingly, their religion.
We'll be waiting for an official explanation from the administration, once Trump stops having his week-long Twitter meltdown.