Feds drop charges against ex-Afghan soldier who crossed border into Texas
The federal government has dropped charges against a former Afghan soldier who said he served in the US forces and was arrested and jailed after crossing the US southern border, according to court documents filed in the Western District of Texas on Monday. .
Abdul Wasi Safi crossed the southern border illegally at the end of September, having, he says, crossed several countries to reach the United States and seek asylum.
Although crossing the border between legal entry points is considered a crime under US law and thousands of migrants are released daily without prosecution for committing the same crime, Wasi Safi is being held in the prison. of Eden, Texas, since his arrest and trial. in federal court.
His brother, Sami Safi, a US citizen living in Texas after serving as an interpreter for US forces in Afghanistan, has advocated fiercely for his brother’s release.
Wasi Safi’s case was first reported by The Texas Tribune. Since then, publicity for the case has increased, most recently when Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, called for him to receive a pardon from President Joe Biden.
The Justice Ministry has given little explanation for whether Wasi Safi was charged or whether the charges were dropped. In the court filings charging Wasi Safi, Justice Department lawyers did not argue that Wasi Safi posed a flight risk or a threat to national security, which are typical reasons prosecutors may argue that a migrant should be detained without bail.
In its filing to drop charges, the Justice Department said it was “in the interests of justice” to “dismiss the information” it had filed against Wasi Safi.
NBC News spoke with the Safi brothers in December.
“Everyone says, ‘You illegally crossed [the border]”, but no one hears my reason,” Wasi Safi said over the phone from the federal prison where he is being held.
Sami Safi said his brother thought if he came to America he would be treated like a hero. He detailed the harrowing journey his brother undertook to the United States from Brazil after obtaining a humanitarian visa from Pakistan. He said his brother was not eligible for a special immigrant visa given to many Afghans who served in the US forces because he was not paid directly by the United States.
Wasi Safi said he served as a special forces intelligence officer in the Afghan National Security Forces.
Afghans who helped the United States during its 20-year war in Afghanistan have faced violent retaliation from the Taliban.
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