Many Americans, including me, applauded Pres. Trump’s decision to override a State Dept. ruling to deny an all-girl team from Afghanistan visas to compete in an international robotics competition in the U.S. Sadly, though, the press typically blamed Trump for the visa denials in the first place. As the above-linked article said,
Their case began attracting global attention – and sparked a heated debate over the president’s immigration policies – when their visa applications were rejected. Though Afghanistan is not among the countries included in Trump’s travel ban, critics of the president said the case was demonstrative of the administration’s attempt to restrict Muslims from entering the US.
But the visa denials were apparently due to a long-standing U.S. of not granting entry to those who might choose not to return to their home countries, often going into hiding, sometimes resurfacing to apply for political asylum. When I say “long-standing,” I mean many decades; it’s been one of the core principles under many presidents of both parties. Much as the press loves to blame Trump (often fairly, sometimes not), this was not a Trump policy problem, and as noted, he acted to override the rule.
Well, lo and behold, the rule seems to have some merit, because now the robotics team from Burundi did exactly what the framers of the long-standing visa rule feared — they’ve fled the scene of the competition, apparently with the intention of staying in the U.S. or Canada rather than returning home.
I must confess to admiring the Burundi kids’ daring, but there is the brain drain issue. A lot of effort and funds went into their training, in the hope of improving life in their Third World country. It’s a shame they didn’t feel a responsibility to return. Well, they are kids, though from past history of such things, it’s likely that there were adults egging them on, and assisting them.
Anyway, somewhere in the State Dept. there are people who now feel vindicated on the initial denial of visas to the Afghani girls.