Texas

Texas Democrat Asks President to Pardon Afghan Soldier

HOUSTON. US Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee is demanding the release of a former Afghan soldier seeking asylum in the US who is being held in a Texas detention center after he tried to cross the US-Mexico border to reunite with his brother.

And to ensure that Abdul Wasi Safi starts life in the US without a criminal record, Jackson Lee, a Democrat from Houston, sent a letter to the White House asking the Biden administration to pardon the Afghan veteran for any crimes related to his crossing the border. asking for asylum.

“This is a mistake that needs to be corrected immediately,” she said at a press conference on Friday.


[An Afghan soldier fleeing the Taliban spent months reaching the U.S. to request asylum. He was arrested at the Texas border.]

Wasi, as he is known, worked as an intelligence officer in the Afghan National Security Forces along with US troops. He fled Afghanistan in 2021 when the Taliban started targeting citizens who had previously helped the US during the decades-long war. Vasey crossed three continents to reach the Texas border, where he hoped to meet his brother, who is now a naturalized US citizen. Instead, he was arrested and has been in custody since 30 September.

“I call on the Biden administration to release my brother,” said Sami-ullah Safi, Vasya’s brother. “He believed in this mission of this country in Afghanistan. That’s why he fought alongside the US Special Forces… to destroy terrorism.”

In a letter to President Joe Biden, the congresswoman asked him to pardon Vasya, saying that the duty to our allies must be fulfilled by the country.

“When their service exposes them to real threats, we must redouble our efforts to keep our word, because this also protects our troops stationed around the world today and in the future,” the letter says.

Jackson Lee, co-chair of the House Afghanistan Caucus, is the highest-ranking official demanding Wasi’s release. Earlier, several military and immigrant rights groups called on the White House to intervene in Vasya’s case.

On Friday, Jackson Lee said she believes the White House has not received these messages. Jackson Lee stood on the podium at the Mickey Leland Federal Building surrounded by supporters of the Safi brothers, including members of the local Afghan community in Houston, military veterans and new members of Vasya’s legal team.

[Veterans groups plead Afghan soldier’s asylum case in letter to Biden]

Vasya, who faces criminal charges for attempting to cross the border without proper paperwork, was scheduled to face a plea hearing earlier this week. However, a new team of lawyers asked for an extension. Vasi also began to cooperate with the federal government. Earlier this month, he was interviewed by the FBI.

The congresswoman stated that Vasya should be granted asylum without a criminal record.

“I characterize this as a logistical error and a nightmare for Mr. Safi,” she said. Jackson Lee highlighted the criminal allegations as a major reason for the delays in Vasya’s asylum case.

A new trial date has been set for mid-February.

“I am the last person who wants to endanger the national security of this country or endanger the security of the American people, but I think it’s important to try to be fair in every way,” Jackson Lee said.

A volunteer from Houston opened a GoFundMe account in the name of Vasya’s brother, Sami, to cover the likely medical expenses of a group of periodontists, dentists, audiologists, and mental health professionals on standby to evaluate Vasya after his release.

This article originally appeared in Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2023/01/13/sheila-jackson-lee-abdul-wasi-safi/.

The Texas Tribune is an unbiased, member-supported newsroom that informs and engages Texans about state politics and politics. Learn more at texastribune.org.



Content source

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button