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 southern US border, according to court documents filed Monday in the Western District of Texas.
Abdul Wasi Safi crossed the southern border illegally in late September, after passing through several countries to reach the United States and seek asylum.
Although crossing the border between legal ports of entry is considered a misdemeanor under US law and thousands of migrants are released daily without prosecution for committing the same crime, Wasi Safi has been held in a federal prison in Eden, Texas. , since his arrest and faced 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 been advocating fiercely for his brother’s release.
The case of Wasi Safi was first reported by The Texas Tribune. Since then, the publicity of the case has grown, most recently when Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, called for him to receive a clemency from President Joe Biden.
The Justice Department has given little explanation for charging Wasi Safi or for dropping the charges. In the court papers charging Wasi Safi, Justice Department lawyers did not argue that Wasi Safi was a flight risk or a threat to national security, which are the typical reasons prosecutors might argue that a migrant should be held without bail.
In its filing to drop the charges, the Justice Department said it was «in the interest of justice» to «dismiss the information» it had presented against Wasi Safi.
NBC News spoke to the Safi brothers in December.
“Everyone says: ‘You have crossed illegally [the border]’, but no one listens to my motive,” Wasi Safi said by phone from the federal prison where he has been held.
Sami Safi said her brother thought if he came to the United States, he would be treated like a hero. He detailed the harrowing journey his brother undertook to the US from Brazil after obtaining a humanitarian visa from Pakistan. He said his brother was not eligible for a special immigrant visa granted to many Afghans who served with US forces because the United States did not pay her directly.
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 been subjected to violent reprisals by the Taliban.