14 July, 2017
Photo Teenagers from the Afghanistan Robotic House worked on a robot in Herat.
Following two visa rejections, global outrage and an intervention from US President Donald Trump himself, a group of Afghan girls will now be allowed to show off their hard work in an worldwide robotics competition later this week.
After hearing about the girls' case, Trump asked officials at the National Security Council to assist in the matter, and they in turn consulted the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security, the senior administration officials told CNN. The girls' applications for USA visas had been denied twice.
A student team from Gambia also was granted visas last week after initially being rejected.
United States authorities had originally refused access to schoolchildren from a number of Muslim-majority nations to participate in the science contest, decisions that followed implementation of stricter visa policies under President Donald Trump.
FIRST Global President Joe Sestak told CNN that the Afghan girls were contacted a few days ago by the American embassy in Afghanistan and informed of the alternative route for getting travel approval.
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Parole is a temporary status in which a person who is otherwise ineligible to enter the country is allowed in temporarily because of an emergency or humanitarian goal, or because it's deemed to be in the public good.
The girls' robot was allowed to compete in the USA, but they had planned on watching it via Skype if their visa requests had been denied for a third time.
The initial rejection and denial of an appeal was particularly heartbreaking for the team.
In a latest development, the president's daughter, Ivanka Trump, tweeted her support on Wednesday, saying she looked forward to welcoming "this brilliant team of Afghan girls" to Washington next week.
A team of Afghan girls who were denied entry to the U.S.to compete in a robotics competition are now going to be allowed in, thanks to.
FIRST Global Challenge holds the yearly contest to build up interest in science, technology, engineering and math across the world.