Trump personally intervenes in lifting ban for competing Afghan girls

U.S. officials have been urged to allow a group of Afghan girls to be admitted into the country, and the person who was urging the Department of State (DOS), was reportedly President Donald J. Trump himself.

The girls need to enter the U.S in order to compete in an international robotics contest. The DOS originally denied the Afghan girls visas on at least two occasions, creating frustration among some concerned U.S. groups.

After hearing their story, the president specifically asked officials within the National Security Council (NSC) if they could reverse the judgement, according to Politico.

Citing a senior administration official as a source, Politico reports:

“At the urging of President Donald Trump, U.S. officials have reversed course and decided to allow into the United States a group of Afghan girls hoping to participate in an international robotics competition next week.”

At the request of the NSC, the Department of Homeland Security agreed to a 10 day period that gives the girls access to the U.S., but does not grant them a visa. Dina Powell, Trump’s deputy national security adviser for strategy, says the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security worked together to review the case and see that it was “handled appropriately.”

“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,” Powell said. “They are future leaders of Afghanistan and strong ambassadors for their country.”

Authorities did not cite the specific reason for the original rejections. Afghanistan is not one of the countries whose citizens are currently banned from traveling to the US by the new travel restrictions set in place last month.

Now that the girl’s team has been accepted, all 163 teams from 157 countries are now approved to enter the U.S., including Syrian refugees and youth representatives from Gambia, Yemen, Libya, Vanuatu and Morocco.

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