Published: Fri, July 14, 2017
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

Trump allows Afghan girls team into U.S. for robotic contest

Trump allows Afghan girls team into U.S. for robotic contest

The girls are expected to leave Afghanistan on Friday for Washington where the FIRST Global, an worldwide robotics challenge, will be held next week.

In the end, the girls were granted entry through "parole", a process by which United States Citizenship and Immigration Services may temporarily authorize otherwise ineligible visitors on humanitarian grounds or because it benefits the public.

Afghanistan is not one of the six countries Trump has tried to target in his legally contested travel ban.

The competition's organizers had originally arranged for a group of Afghan-American students living in the United States to operate the Afghan team's robot, according to a news release from FIRST Global.

In hope to prove themselves all girls team from three high schools in Herat, western Afghanistan wanted to take part in this competition.

It was unclear why the girls were barred entry to the the first place.

He credited "the professional leadership of the US State Department" for ensuring that all 163 teams from 157 countries, including a team of Syrian refugees, would be able to participate.

"I am most grateful to the US Government and its State Department for ensuring Afghanistan, as well as Gambia, would be able to join us for this worldwide competition this year", said the president of the First Global organization, Joe Sestak, who noted that teams from Yemen, Libya and Morocco would also attend. "We applied again for the U.S. visa and we were rejected again". They made the 800-kilometer (500-mile) trek to the USA embassy in Kabul twice after their first applications were denied.

Members of Afghan girls' team have said they are eager to put in display the robots made by them in the competition which will begin on Sunday in Washington.

The girls, had constructed a ball-sorting robot to enter in the First Global Challenge, an worldwide robotics contest that aims to promote interest in science and technology.

The initial rejection and denial of an appeal was particularly heartbreaking for the team.

While their robot was sent overseas to compete and arrangements were made for them to video-conference in to the event, the team of girls from Western Afghanistan were rejected twice for the necessary visas to attend in-person.

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