Fox News reported today that six girls from Afghanistan will be able to attend a robotics competition in the U.S. thanks to President Trump’s intervention.
Their visa applications had been denied twice, and it caused an international backlash. Fox says the State Department had declined to comment on why the visas for the girls and their chaperone had been denied, saying “all visa applications are adjudicated on a case-by-case basis in accordance with U.S. law.”
However, Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed that once President Trump heard about the situation, he intervened and the decision has been reversed. All six girls and their chaperone will be traveling to the U.S. to compete in the Olympic-style competition next week.
Dina Powell, White House deputy national security adviser for strategy, said in a statement, “The State Department worked incredibly well with the Department of Homeland Security to ensure that this case was reviewed and handled appropriately.”
She added, “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.”
After she heard that the girls would be allowed to compete, Ivanka Trump tweeted, “I look forward to welcoming this brilliant team of Afghan girls, and their competitors, to Washington DC next week! #WomenInSTEM”
The girls, all high schoolers, will compete with a ball-sorting robot they constructed reports The Washington Post. They wrote on their competition page, “We want to make a difference, and 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.”