On Saturday morning, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway praised President Trump for allowing an all-girl robotics team from a Muslim-majority country into the United States.
Conway retweeted a story about how early Saturday morning, the Afghani girls — who were twice denied entry to the country by the State Department for reasons that haven’t yet been specified — finally arrived in Washington DC to participate in an international competition. She commended Trump for personally intervening to allow them entry.
— Kellyanne Conway (@KellyannePolls) July 15, 2017
Left unmentioned by Conway is the fact the Trump administration is currently fighting in federal court to implement a travel ban that would bar nationals of six Muslim-majority countries from entering the US. Afghanistan isn’t on the list, but Trump’s Islamophobia and visa crackdown are “emblematic of a broader effort to put a chill on Muslims entering the US,” as ABC News put it.
A coalition of academic and educational groups recently wrote to the State Department about Trump’s visa crackdown and said, “We are very concerned that if the proposed changes are implemented, international undergraduate and graduate students, scholars, and scientific collaborators may be discouraged from coming to the United States.”
As Torie Bosch writes in Slate, Trump has “intentionally and systematically made the American immigration system crueler.”
“It’s not as if he heard the story of these Afghan girls and said to himself, Huh, maybe I was wrong about needing a ‘total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,’” Bosch continues. “Instead, he deigned to help a small group of people affected by his inhumane policies. Praising him for granting passage to these girls is like giving someone a round of applause for draining the ocean and then pouring in a thimbleful of water.”
Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA) made the point more bluntly:
Um, he was the schmuck who kept them from coming in. Thank you for no longer being a schmuck in this instance? https://t.co/PXqxy3GVY9
— Rep. Jared Huffman (@JaredHuffman) July 15, 2017
As ThinkProgress detailed at the time, families were ripped apart by the initial implementation of Trump’s Muslim ban in late January. But unlike the case of the Afghan girls, those stories didn’t typically rise to the level of major national news, and Trump did nothing.