HOUSTON (AP) — An Afghan soldier in search of U.S. asylum who was arrested whereas making an attempt to cross the Mexico border has been freed and reunited together with his brother after spending months in immigration detention, his legal professional stated Wednesday.
Abdul Wasi Safi’s launch from custody in a detention heart in Eden, Texas, got here after a choose dropped an immigration cost in opposition to him on the request of federal prosecutors.
Wasi Safi, an intelligence officer for the Afghan Nationwide Safety Forces, fled Afghanistan following the withdrawal of U.S. forces in August 2021, fearing reprisals from the Taliban as a result of he had supplied U.S. forces with data on terrorists. In the summertime of 2022, he started a treacherous journey from Brazil to the U.S.-Mexico border, the place he was arrested in September close to Eagle Cross, Texas. He had hoped to hitch his brother, who lives in Houston.
Prosecutors filed a movement asking a federal choose in Del Rio, Texas, to dismiss the immigration cost “within the curiosity of justice” and on Monday the choose granted that request.
You are reading: Afghan soldier seeking US asylum freed from immigration hold
Zachary Fertitta, certainly one of his prison protection attorneys, stated Wednesday that Wasi Safi is receiving medical care at an undisclosed location however that he plans to talk at a information convention on Friday in Houston.
Fertitta stated Wasi Safi and his brother “are overjoyed to be reunited.”
Jennifer Cervantes, certainly one of Wasi Safi’s immigration attorneys, stated there was no cause to maintain him in custody, particularly provided that the FBI has already spoken to him and located no issues.
“He’s actually not a hazard to the US. He’s finished a whole lot of good service for the US,” Cervantes stated.
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U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, a Houston Democrat, belongs to a bipartisan group of lawmakers that has been working to free Wasi Safi. She stated in a press release Tuesday night time that she expects him to reach in her hometown by Friday.
The Division of Homeland Safety, which oversees Customs and Border Safety and ICE, has not responded to an e mail in search of remark Wednesday.
Sami-ullah Safi, Wasi Safi’s brother, was employed by the U.S. navy for a number of years as a translator. Sami Safi stated he’s happy the prison case has been dropped however that he stays annoyed about how his sibling has been handled in gentle of his household’s help for the united statesin Afghanistan.
“If we categorize my brother’s service, what number of lives he has saved due to his service and what number of lives I’ve saved due to my service being a fight translator?” Sami Safi stated.
Wasi Safi’s case was first reported by The Texas Tribune.
On his journey from Brazil to the U.S., Wasi Safi suffered critical accidents from beatings, together with broken entrance enamel and listening to loss in his proper ear.
Fertitta stated Wasi Safi’s accidents weren’t sufficiently handled whereas he was detained but it surely’s unclear how critical of a priority they’ve change into.
“I’m going to have to attend to be suggested by the medical personnel on that,“ Fertitta stated.
The legal professionals, lawmakers and navy organizations which were working to free Wasi Safi say his case highlights how America’s chaotic navy withdrawal continues to hurt Afghan residents who helped the U.S. however had been left behind.
Almost 76,000 Afghans who labored with American troopers since 2001 as translators, interpreters and companions arrived within the U.S. on navy planes after the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. However their immigration standing stays unclear after Congress didn’t go a proposed regulation, the Afghan Adjustment Act, that might have solidified their authorized residency standing.
Cervantes stated Wasi Safi’s case isn’t distinctive and that different Afghans in search of asylum on the U.S.-Mexico border have additionally confronted problem getting their instances correctly reviewed. She stated she hopes her work “sheds some gentle on that and (helps) these guys get what I believe is the precise factor to do, what I believe is truthful for them.”
Comply with Juan A. Lozano on Twitter: twitter.com/juanlozano70