The Gambia’s Robotics Team has been denied United States visas to participate in the global competition, The FADER reported on Monday.
This is the country’s first time participating in a global robotics competition.
The Gambian team was the second team participating in the global annual robotics challenge and are denied entry into the United States to participate.
Its reported that the team from Afghanistan — a group of young girls who had to brave a dangerous journey in order to apply — were denied visas to enter the U.S.
The denial came after parts of Trump’s Muslim ban went into effect in June.
The Gambian Robotics team mentor, Mucktarr Darboe, who is also the Director of Science, Technology, and Innovation at the Ministry of Higher Education and Research confirmed that the team members are indeed denied visas.
“It started when we were invited as a country to take part in the robotics competition. We started engaging with the FIRST Global team, and we did the registration…and they encourage the teams to apply for their visas very early, on time, which we did. Each of the members of the team that were supposed to travel to the U.S. made sure that they turned everything in exactly on time, and worked closely with the first Global team to ensure they were doing each step correctly” he said.
According to him, the day that they received news of the visa denials was a hard day for all students, all who are either 17 or 18 years old, and worked tirelessly to complete the project.
Darboe said that the reason given for the denial of the visas was Section 214(b) is part of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). This means that the individuals applying for the visa, either the student or visitor visa, are not able to provide enough evidence that they would leave the United States after their permitted stay.
Darboe said team Gambia is intended to hold additional meetings on Wednesday, July 5 in a third attempt to obtain visas for the students.
Meanwhile, it is reported that the U.S. Embassy in Banjul has declined to comment on individual visa cases.