Trump intervenes to get visas for Afghan robotics girls' team

Kristopher Drake
July 14, 2017

FILE- In this Thursday, July 6, 2017, file photo, teenagers from the Afghanistan Robotic House, a private training institute, practice at the Better Idea Organization center, in Herat, Afghanistan. U.S.

U.S. officials have made a decision to allow a group of Afghan girls - whose visa applications had been rejected twice - to travel to the United States and participate in an global robotics competition, ending a saga that had sparked an worldwide backlash.

The teenagers were denied access to the USA under the president's executive order on travel after making multiple trips to their country's capital depsite the dangers of the war-torn region.

Following the change, the State Department said it worked with the Department of Homeland Security to remedy the situation. The girls' applications for US visas had been denied twice.

When they got news their visas would be denied, the girls were "crying all the day, " Roya Mahboob, the first female CEO of a tech company in Afghanistan and the organizer of the girls' project, told Forbes at the time.

The third time's the charm for war-torn Afghanistan's all girls team who have been applying for entry into the participate in an global robotics competition in Washington.

A limited version of Trump's travel ban - temporarily barring refugees and visitors from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen - recently took effect, after the US Supreme Court allowed it to be enforced pending a full hearing in October.

The criticisms also fueled arguments that President Trump is seeking to ban Muslims from entering the country.

According to Politico, critics warned that denying the team entry would engender negative feelings about the Afghanistan.

After two rejections, Afghanistan's all-girls robotics team will get a chance to come to the United States and compete in an worldwide robotics competition after all, the competition's organizers said on Wednesday.

President Trump intervened to find a way to permit the girls entry, the AP reports.

"We want to make a difference and most breakthroughs in science, technology, and other industries normally start with the dream of a child to do something great", the team wrote on their competition page.

He said 10 percent of Afghans who are awarded temporary visas for academic purposes in the United States or Europe defy immigration rules to remain there permanently.

Competitors at this year's First Global Challenge robotics contest will be tasked with engineering projects related to providing access to clean water.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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