Afghan team gets USA visa for global robotics competition
Afghan team gets USA visa for global robotics competition
Team Afghanistan – FIRST Global
14 July, 2017, 00:44
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.
The decision followed a furious public backlash to the news that the six teens had been denied USA visas.
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.
"We are very happy to have these young girls be able to come here to the United States to participate in this robotics competition", Nauert said. The girls' applications for USA visas had been denied twice.
Members of the team from Gambia were also granted visas after initially being denied. The most recent version of Trump's travel ban restricts visas to citizens of six predominantly Muslim countries, but Afghanistan is not on the list.
"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", he added.
The reversal on the part of USA authorities follows an intervention by President Donald Trump, reports Politico Wednesday, citing administration officials.
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"Afghanistan is a war-torn country where it is hard for women to improve", 15-year-old Lida Azizitold Reuters.
The National Security Council opted to "parole" the girls, a status the U.S. Immigration and Citizenship Services explains requires "an urgent humanitarian reason or significant public benefit".
Shortly after the change was announced, Ivanka Trumptweeted "I look forward to welcoming this brilliant team of Afghan girls, and their competitors, to Washington DC next week!"
Remember the team of teenage girls barred from entering the United States where they were to compete in a robot building challenge?
Mr. Sestak said that he did not know why the Afghan team's visa applications were not approved, but that he suspected it stemmed from a backlog of requests or cautious officials concerned that they may overstay their visas.
"We want to develop and explore our minds and creativity and maybe unveil the genius inside of each one of us", the Afghan girls team wrote on its official page.
Earlier this week, the State Department announced its ongoing support for the "TechGirls" initiative, bringing young Muslim women from the Middle East and North Africa to the U.S. for a three-week exchange program meant to promote women's interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.
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