BERLIN — A Palestinian girl who challenged Chancellor Angela Merkel about Germany’s treatment of refugees has been given permission to remain in the country indefinitely.

Reem Sawhil made headlines in July 2015 when she burst into tears during a town hall event with Merkel after recounting how she feared that she or her family might be deported. Local authorities in the northern city of Rostock say Sawhil is being allowed to settle in Germany.

The dpa news agency reported Friday the decision means Sawhil and her parents won’t be deported and can eventually apply for German citizenship.

Merkel was criticized for appearing to show little empathy toward Sawhil, who was 14 at the time. Weeks later, the chancellor decided to open Germany’s borders to tens of thousands of refugees stuck in Hungary.

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