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Trump, Acting Truly Presidential, Intervenes to Allow Afghan Young Women's Robotics Team to Enter US for Competition. Roger Algase

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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.

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/0...-robots-240474

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
algaselex@gmail.com

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Updated 07-15-2017 at 10:04 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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Comments

  1. MKolken's Avatar
    Updated 07-13-2017 at 08:34 AM by MKolken
  2. MKolken's Avatar
  3. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    Two comments in response to Matt:

    First, with regard to his point about whether the young women might be planning to apply for asylum, I have no doubt that at least two of Trump's top immigration advisers, Stephen Bannon and Stephen Miller, were probably asking Trump the same question.

    My guess is that the president probably decided that even if the half dozen or so non-European young women who are on the team do decide to apply for asylum, the American Republic would still survive, even if Bannon and Miller might not think so.

    With regard to Matt's comment about President Obama, I applaud Matt's wise decision to become a lawyer rather than a theology student.

    If he had gone to theology school and written a thesis showing that the New Testament was entirely about the life and career of John the Baptist (a/k/a/ Barack Obama), Matt might not have been able to graduate.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 07-13-2017 at 09:27 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  4. MKolken's Avatar
    There it is... the John the Baptist reference!!!

    You never disappoint Roger.

    I'm thinking of turning this into a drinking game.

    And incidentally Roger, have you ever affirmatively filed an asylum claim for a national of Afghanistan? Ever tried a defensive claim in immigration court? Or is your experience more in the abstract... you know, like the concept of an invisible man in the sky that is all knowing and all powerful, but that somehow needs your money.
  5. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    My practice is in the area of high skilled and professional immigration visas and green cards, not asylum.

    Matt's comment, as I understand it however, was not about whether the young women from Afghanistan might be eligible for asylum, but whether they were telling the truth when they told the US embassy that they had no intention of staying on in the US.

    President Trump has made a judgment call on that issue which I believe was eminently reasonable and should be respected, even though Matt might disagree.

    I also respectfully remind Matt that the issue under discussion is not whether the young women would be eligible for asylum, but whether, as Matt suggests without any evidence or basis to back it up, they misrepresented their intention not to remain in the US to the visa officer when they applied for visitor's visas.

    One does not have to be an asylum expert to comment on that point.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law

    Updated 07-13-2017 at 11:50 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  6. MKolken's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ImmigrationLawBlogs
    My practice is in the area of high skilled and professional immigration visas and green cards, not asylum.
    So the answer is no? You have no experience in asylum law, or deportation defense? What about waivers, and grounds of inadmissibility and removal? I have found that in order to be able to effectively advocate you need experience spanning the full spectrum of the practice. To see the forest from the trees as they say.
    Updated 07-13-2017 at 10:54 AM by MKolken (typo)
  7. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    I have at various times handled a few asylum and deportation cases, but not recently and that is not my field.

    I have, however, helped many high-skilled computer professional, financial experts, designers, researchers, and other well-educated, highly qualified specialists to receive work visas and green cards, and who are making great contributions to society and who are just as much threatened by Trump's immigration policies, though arguably in different ways, as the people whom Matt represents.

    Indeed, as I write this, I just received a phone call from someone connected with a successful political asylum case that I handled many years ago.

    I have also practiced in the marriage-based green card area for nearly 40 years and have other family-based immigration experience as well, though no doubt not as much as Matt does.

    I respectfully suggest to Matt that being a "boutique" immigration lawyer rather than a full service one does not make me any less qualified to understand and interpret immigration laws, regulations and decisions than Matt or anyone else.

    One might as well argue that the fact that when I attended law school (located in Cambridge Massachusetts - the same one that President Barack ("John the Baptist" Obama attended many years later) there was no immigration law course taught at all (to the best of my recollection) maks students in my class unqualified to practice in this area later on.

    This would be absurd, and so is Matt's suggestion that only lawyers who practice in the deportation/asylum field are qualified to comment on general immigration policies.

    I would encourage Matt to focus his comments on the legal issues that this site is devoted to covering, rather than trying to impugn a colleague's qualifications, merely because the colleague may concentrate in a different area of immigration law from the one that Matt writes about most often.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law




    Updated 07-13-2017 at 01:25 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  8. MKolken's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ImmigrationLawBlogs
    I would encourage Matt to focus his comments on the legal issues that this site is devoted to covering, rather than trying to impugn a colleague's qualifications, merely because the colleague may concentrate in a different area of immigration law from the one that Matt writes about most often.
    I would encourage Roger to focus his comments on the legal issues he regularly handles, rather than issuing observations from a bird's eye view.
    Updated 07-13-2017 at 12:51 PM by MKolken
  9. MKolken's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ImmigrationLawBlogs
    And as I have pointed out, the subject of this discussion is not asylum law, but only whether, as Matt insinuates without any evidence or justification, the young women concerned made false representations to the US visa officer about their intention to leave the United States.
    I made no such insinuation. That is your twisted interpretation. I demand an immediate retraction.
  10. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    I have evidently misunderstood Matt's comment about the intentions of the young women and I hereby retract any suggestion that Matt intended to accuse the women of any type of misconduct before the US embassy in obtaining their visas.

    I am deleting any such references and I sincerely apologize to Matt, who has fought as hard, if not harder than, any one else for the rights of asylum seekers and of all immigrants who are caught up in our incarceration and deportation system, and who has earned the respect of every lawyer and other person involved with the immigration field today.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 07-13-2017 at 02:11 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  11. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    With regard to Matt's comment suggesting that I confine my comments to legal issues that I regularly handle, i.e. in the area of high skilled and professional immigration visas, I would point out, with all due respect to Matt, that running afoul of one immigration law requirement or another and therefore being subject to possible deportation or exclusion is something that every foreign citizen in the US, no matter what his or her status might be, can be affected by, and every immigration lawyer has to be aware of.

    This applies to immigrants with skilled work visas, such as H-1B and O-1, just as much as other immigrants.

    So does the possibility of being excluded from the US because of religion, which can affect highly skilled and educated immigrants as much as any other classes of immigrants.

    I know this not only as a general matter, but from personal discussions with clients of mine who happen to be Muslims.

    Moreover, as the plaintiffs have argued successfully, in the 4th Circuit and in some District Courts, banning any class of immigrants because of religion, directly or indirectly, can affect the fundamntal rights of millions of Americans, not only foreign citizens.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 07-13-2017 at 02:18 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
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