Abdul Wasi Safi fled Afghanistan after the Taliban’s return to power in August 2021 and made it to Brazil, from where he headed for the US to seek asylum.
Safi’s months-long journey from Brazil to the US-Mexico border took him through Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Guatemala. Carrying his military service documents, he crossed into the US last September, where he was arrested on a federal immigration charge. He has been kept in detention since.
Fearing his asylum application may be rejected, he hopes that a group of bi-partisan lawmakers, lawyers and military organisations can get him freed.
Wasi Safi’s brother, Samiullah Safi, had worked for the US military in Afghanistan and was granted a US visa in 2015. He said that his brother had “tried every way possible to save these certificates in the hopes that once he … presents his appropriate documents at the southern border … he would receive a warm welcome and his service would be appreciated and recognized.”
“He tried every way possible to save these certificates in the hopes that once he … presents his appropriate documents at the southern border … he would receive a warm welcome and his service would be appreciated and recognized,”
Safi’s lawyer, Zachary Fertitta, has said “Wasi Safi has not received proper medical care while in detention.” And that his “criminal case [entering the US illegally] has to first be resolved before his asylum claim can be considered, and he’s hoping that resolution doesn’t include a conviction, which could imperil the asylum request.”
Last week, U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, a Houston Democrat, wrote a letter to Joe Biden asking him to pardon Safi’s immigration related charges, saying that his documents showed that he was “an individual who obviously loved this country … and was willing to die for this country.” And according to the Seattle Post, Republican Congressmen Dan Crenshaw of Texas and Michael Waltz of Florida, have also called for Safi’s release.
The White House has refused to comment on the case.