Abdul Wasi Safi: Charges dropped against Afghan soldier seeking asylum on southern border


Washington
cnn

Prison expenses have been dropped towards an Afghan nationwide who served with the US army in Afghanistan and was arrested after fleeing to the US throughout the southern border with Mexico.

Abdul Wasi Safinicknamed Wasi, served alongside US particular forces in Afghanistan as an Afghan particular forces soldier and fled the nation following the total US withdrawal in August 2021. He traveled alone to the US and was arrested in September 2022, crossing the southern border of Mexico.

Safi’s case has drawn the eye of veterans’ teams and US lawmakers, who’ve been pushing for the costs to be dropped and for the Biden administration to take motion and grant him the proper to stay within the nation whereas he attends a listening to on his Asylum software ready.

Safi’s immigration lawyer, Jennifer Cervantes, instructed CNN that he supposed to use for asylum however was unfamiliar with reporting necessities and had not gone to a longtime port of entry.

“He did not perceive that he needed to go to a port of entry to use for asylum, in any other case this case would have been very completely different,” Cervantes stated on Wednesday. “Wasi is not from the southern border, he is not from Latin America, so he wasn’t actually conscious of how you can truly current himself for asylum… He thought he’d have to use as soon as he obtained a CBP (Customs and Border Safety Company). ) discovered ) officers to provide him his paperwork, and he did simply that.”

Safi was finally charged with failing to adjust to reporting necessities, however courtroom data present the costs have been dismissed by a Texas choose on Monday.

The information was introduced Tuesday night time by Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee.

“Mr. Safi got here throughout the Rio Grande with a gaggle of migrants after being overwhelmed abroad and determined for a method to attain America to see freedom,” Jackson Lee stated stated in a press release on Tuesday. “Sadly, his entry was by means of a no-entry level and Mr Safi has been held in detention amenities ever since. What has occurred over the previous few weeks has been a strategic and vigorous try and deliver all authorities collectively to make the proper resolution for Mr Safi.”

Jackson Lee performed a job in getting the costs dropped by reaching out to senior US officers to talk to Safi’s standing as an Afghan soldier and particular person who labored with US forces, she instructed CNN on Wednesday .

“I’m very grateful to the Division of Protection management, who answered my name instantly and offered vital and useful data,” she stated, however declined to provide additional particulars on what that help consisted of.

“I am grateful to say thanks to my authorities,” Jackson Lee added. “Thanks to my President and thanks to the management of the assorted companies, together with the Division of Protection, who really understood his plight and labored arduous to make sure we transfer this course of ahead.”

Sami-ullah Safi, Wasi Safi’s brother, whose title is Sami, who additionally labored with the US army in Afghanistan earlier than turning into a US citizen in July 2021, celebrated the information on Wednesday however instructed CNN he nonetheless had questions.

“He got here to the identical nation he had fought alongside and to his shock he was singled out and handled as a felony. Is that this how America treats its allies and those that sacrificed alongside the People in Afghanistan?” Sami Safi stated. “My service to the army ought to have been appreciated. My brother’s army service ought to have been appreciated.”

Based on a letter despatched to President Joe Biden by a coalition of US veterans’ teams, Wasi Safi “served faithfully alongside US particular forces” through the US withdrawal in 2021 and “continued to help Northern resistance to the Taliban.” helps”. Because the Taliban consolidated their energy, it was clear that Wasi Safi can be at excessive danger due to his work with the US particular operations neighborhood.

Sami Safi beforehand instructed CNN his brother obtained “a number of voicemails” whereas he was nonetheless in Afghanistan stating that his Afghan troopers have been being captured and killed by the Taliban.

So Wasi Safi made the journey to the USA. The U.S. Veterans Teams letter stated he “traveled throughout 10 international locations on foot or by bus, survived torture, theft and makes an attempt on his life to hunt asylum in america as a result of his life was threatened and he expects a heroic welcome from his American allies.” As an alternative, he was arrested by the Border Patrol and has been of their custody ever since.

And though the costs towards him have been dropped, the highway just isn’t over for Wasi Safi and his brother.

Cervantes has requested that Customs and Border Police drop their retainer on Wasi Safi earlier than he’s transferred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody. The detainee is “fairly frequent,” she stated, as a result of CBP “needs him to get transferred to ICE and do a reputable scare interview.”

“Proper now we’re form of going forwards and backwards between CBP — I am asking CBP to launch their detainee and truly problem him an OAR parole (an immigration standing for Afghan migrants), which is what america points to most Afghans who introduced them right here as a result of I feel that is the proper factor to do on this case,” Cervantes stated. “Nevertheless, if they do not try this, he might be transferred to ICE custody and we’ll attempt to launch him from ICE.”

She added that she had “no doubts” that Wasi Safi would go the credible worry interview.

“Hopefully we will get him out of all custody right here shortly,” Cervantes stated, “and that the federal government actually will not simply see his service to america — Wasi labored in counterterrorism, so he was attempting to stop terrorist assaults.” So hopefully you will notice not solely that, but additionally the risk to his life once more.”

Sami Safi stated his brother’s immigration standing is the following hurdle he’ll work on instantly.

“The most important problem I’ve to start out engaged on proper now can be his immigration standing — what standing America is prepared to provide him with all his sacrifices,” he stated.