The Afghani robotics team will now be able to attend the FIRST Global Challenge robotics competition this weekend.
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. As Forbes reported, even though Afghanistan is not one of the countries mentioned in Trump's partially reinstated travel ban, the rate of visas approved from the country in recent months have been low.
Without the reversal, the team would have had to watch the contest via video link from their hometown in Herat, Afghanistan.
The U.S.is still battling Taliban militants who prohibited girls from attending school in the past.
"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, a former U.S. Navy admiral and Democratic congressman. They twice made a 500 mile trip from their Herat homes to the United States embassy in Kabul to ace their interviews and secure the visas, despite danger and extreme heat. Now, all 163 teams from 157 countries will be able to participate in the competition in person.
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The officers couldn't believe what was happening but chose to help Thompson during his big moment. Before officers arrived, Thompson was celebrating his birthday and the Fourth of July with family.
"We cried a lot after we heard our visa was rejected", added 15-year-old Kowser Roshan.
In an interview before the turnaround, team member Rodaba Noori said: "We wanted to show our talents to the world so they would know that we do have skills". Teams from Syria, Iran and Sudan, all countries included in Trump's travel ban, have not faced similar setbacks.
First Global, the organization putting on the competition, said that a team from the Gambia is also being allowed to join the event despite having previously been rejected.
First Global, a not-for-profit charity, holds the annual worldwide robotics challenge in hopes of sparking a passion for science and technology among high school students around the world. Robots will compete to collect clean and contaminated water "particles" represented by differently colored balls, and cooperation among the teams will also be rewarded throughout the competition, Mr. Sestak said.