The Trump Administration overturned its recent decision to deny the visas of a female team of Afghani students participating in a world robotics competition.
The drama of the school girls’ denied visas was widely covered by mainstream media. Even though Afghanistan is not included in the recent travel ban on six Muslim-majority countries, their visas for the competition were twice rejected. At the same time, visas were granted for girls traveling to the U.S. from countries subjected to the travel ban, such as Gambia.
But earlier this week, reportedly with the encouragement of President Donald Trump, the Department of Homeland Security overturned the decision and the Afghani students are packing their bags.
An official in the Department, David Lapan, said the decision to give the Afghan girls entry into the United States was granted after receiving the appeal through the State Department, a move which AP reported was initiated by Trump.
The non-profit group First Global, which is the organization responsible for the competition, expects over 160 students from more than 150 countries to participate in the robotic games.
“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,” said First Global President Joe Sestak in a statement. “That is why I am most grateful to the US Government and the State Department for ensuring Afghanistan, as well as Gambia, would be able to join us for this international competition this year.”
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Reprint (Photo by First Global)