The Afghan girls robotics team repeatedly rejected by the U.S. will be allowed to come to the U.S. after a reported intervention from the White House.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services approved a request to let the team of teens from Herat and their chaperone come to watch their entry at a competition in Washington D.C. next week on “parole,” Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman Joanne Talbot told the Daily News Wednesday evening.
The girls spent months preparing their robot, designed to sort balls and recognize orange and blue balls by color.
Despite traveling hundreds of miles to the capital of their war-weary country two times, their visas were denied by the U.S. State Department for unknown reasons twice.
Afghan robotics team denied U.S. visa again
No explanation for how the change occurred was given, though Talbot confirmed that the girls are now authorized to come to America on the “parole” system, a non-visa program that allows people to temporarily stay in the U.S.
President Trump urged officials to reverse their decision after the case came to his attention, POLITICO reported Wednesday.
Joining a chorus of those who welcomed the reversal, his daughter Ivanka posted on Twitter “I look forward to welcoming this brilliant team of Afghan girls, and their competitors, to Washington DC next week! #WomenInSTEM.”
First Global, the organization putting on the competition, said that a team from the Gambia is also being allowed to join the event despite having previously been rejected.
“I truly believe our greatest power is the power to convene nations, to bring people together in the pursuit of a common goal and prove that our similarities greatly outweigh our differences,” the group’s president, former Navy admiral Joe Sestak, said in a statement.
The team was planning to watch the competition via video link after their robot managed to make the journey they could not.
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