President Donald Trump has directly intervened this week when a group of young girls originating from Afghanistan could not enter the country to take part in a US robotics competition.
Politico reported that the decision to not let a group of Afghan girls enter the United States was ruled out after President Trump directly intervened. The girls had to travel to the United States to be part of an international robotics competition, but their US visa applications were rejected.
Trump’s deputy national security advisor, Dina Powell, said that “The State Department worked incredibly well with the Department of Homeland Security to ensure that this case was reviewed and handled appropriately.” She hailed the Afghan girls, saying, “We could not be prouder of this delegation of young women who are also scientists — they represent the best of the Afghan people and embody the promise that their aspirations can be fulfilled. They are future leaders of Afghanistan and strong ambassadors for their country.”
The visa applications of the girls were reportedly rejected twice, but the State Department has not stated any reasons for this. When President Trump heard of this particular case, he immediately spoke to the National Security Council and asked them to do everything they could in order to correct the situation.
The National Security Council officials made calls with several agencies, the Department of Homeland Security made a decision to allow the girls to enter the country, but on “parole” which is only for 10 days.
The parole authority is rarely used, but it was concluded that this was of significant public benefit for the country. Originating from the Herat region in western Afghanistan the girls, reportedly spent a considerable amount of time to develop a robot which they are set to present at the FIRST Global Challenge taking place in Washington, D.C. from July 16-18. After their supplies which were sent to them were stuck in customs the girls had no other option but to improvise with homemade items when building the robot. In addition, they had to travel hundreds of miles to submit their visa applications on two separate occasions.
The team page of the Afghan girls reads, “Most breakthroughs in science, technology, and other industries normally start with the dream of a child to do something great. We want to be that child and pursue our dreams to make a difference in people’s lives.”