Houston: An Afghan soldier seeking U.S. asylum who was arrested while trying to cross the Mexico border has been freed and reunited with his brother after spending months in immigration detention, his attorney said Wednesday.
Abdul Wasi Safi’s release from custody in a detention center in Eden, Texas, came after a judge dropped an immigration charge against him at the request of federal prosecutors.
Wasi Safi, an intelligence officer for the Afghan National Security Forces, fled Afghanistan following the withdrawal of U.S. forces in August 2021, fearing reprisals from the Taliban because he had provided U.S. forces with information on terrorists. In the summer of 2022, he began a treacherous journey from Brazil to the U.S.-Mexico border, where he was arrested in September near Eagle Pass, Texas. He had hoped to join his brother, who lives in Houston.
Prosecutors filed a motion asking a federal judge in Del Rio, Texas, to dismiss the immigration charge “in the interest of justice” and on Monday the judge granted that request.
Zachary Fertitta, one of his criminal defense attorneys, said Wednesday that Wasi Safi is receiving medical care at an undisclosed location but that he plans to speak at a news conference on Friday in Houston.
Fertitta said Wasi Safi and his brother “are overjoyed to be reunited.”
Jennifer Cervantes, one of Wasi Safi’s immigration attorneys, said there was no reason to keep him in custody, especially given that the FBI has already spoken to him and found no problems. “He’s certainly not a danger to the United States. He’s done a lot of good service for the United States,” Cervantes said.