After a group of six teenage girls in Afghanistan were denied entry into the U.S. for a robotics competition, Department of Homeland Security officials have changed course and are allowing them to compete.
The girls will not be granted visas, but instead “parole,” allowing them to stay in the U.S. for 10 days ― a reversal that occurred after President Donald Trump intervened in the matter, Politico reported. The teens will be able to take their robot to the FIRST Global Challenge, an international robotics competition in Washington this month.
The Citizenship and Immigration Services office, which is part of DHS, approved the request from the Department of State to authorize the girls’ team and their chaperon, department spokeswoman Joanne Talbot confirmed to HuffPost.
After creating their robot and entering it in the competition, the girls made a . 500-mile trip ― twice ― from their home in Herat to the U.S. embassy in Kabul hoping to obtain the temporary visas needed to compete.
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.
Now they’ll have their chance.
“The State Department worked incredibly well with the Department of Homeland Security to ensure that this case was reviewed and handled appropriately,” Dina Powell, White House deputy national security adviser for strategy, told Politico in a statement. “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 competition will take place this coming Sunday through Tuesday.