Afghan particular forces commando looking for asylum will get caught in damaged US immigration system

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This can be a story about an Afghan soldier and a tragically damaged U.S. immigration and asylum system.

Abdul Wasi Safi was skilled by the U.S. navy to be an elite particular forces commando in Afghanistan. When Kabul fell, Wasi was nonetheless combating the Taliban within the north. On Aug. 30, 2021, when the final U.S. airplane left Kabul, Wasi went into hiding, shifting from protected home to protected home organized by U.S. veterans who helped him get to Pakistan. He hoped to obtain a particular immigrant visa and to legally transfer to the U.S. 

The Taliban had his biometric knowledge, left behind by the U.S. authorities, they usually have been searching him. Now, Wasi sits in a Texas jail dealing with deportation to Kabul and sure loss of life, a poster baby for America’s damaged asylum system. 

“I used to be in a particular pressure commando unit with the U.S. navy,” Wasi advised Fox Information in a telephone interview from Eden Detention Heart in Texas. “I wished to return to the USA. I do not choose one other nation to assist me as a result of I used to be with them. However I come right here, they usually put me in jail.”


Afghans with weapons
(Fox Information)

He described a year-long treacherous journey throughout two continents. After receiving a visa to Brazil, he quickly realized Afghans have been seen as terrorists in Latin America. So, he started making his solution to the U.S. border. He made his approach on foot and by bus by way of 10 nations and was robbed, tortured and crushed. He shared with Fox Information a number of the movies he took crossing the Darien Hole close to Panama, a harmful crossing. He obtained therapy alongside the best way that he anticipated from the Taliban. 

“Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico. I cross all that distance to return to United States as a result of I used to be pondering and hoping the American authorities that they are going to assist me,” Wasi advised Fox.

As an alternative, he was arrested on the border making an attempt to cross the Rio Grande.


“The Panama Police tortured me. In entrance of all individuals, they beat me. They referred to as me terrorist,” Wasi mentioned. “I do not know why. With none cause, they tortured me. I do not know why.”

Wasi’s brother Sami-ullah Safi labored as a translator for the U.S. navy beginning in 2010. In 2015, Sami moved to Houston on a particular immigrant visa and have become a U.S. citizen in July 2021, one month earlier than Kabul fell. 

He has been making an attempt to assist his brother make his solution to the U.S. for the reason that Taliban took over Afghanistan. He mentioned he’s shocked what his brother went by way of to get to Texas and his therapy ever since.

“Individuals have been within the river useless. On the best way strolling, a number of individuals died. And, within the jungle, he defined that there was sort of individuals that will typically rob and principally kill individuals. And he survived it,” Sami mentioned in disbelief. He labored with U.S. veterans teams to pay for Wasi’s journey and organize his visa to Brazil.

Foreigners board a Qatar Airways aircraft at the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sept. 9, 2021.

Foreigners board a Qatar Airways plane on the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sept. 9, 2021.
(AP Picture/Bernat Armangue)

“As an alternative of him being welcomed in Brazil by locals and those who have been dwelling within the space, which was designated for the Afghans, they began to deal with Afghans as terrorists. And he was robbed and crushed by mobs in Brazil,” Sami mentioned. “He won’t ever be capable of neglect the torture that was given to him by the Panamanian police. They strip his garments. They beat him to the purpose that they might now not beat him.”

On Sept. 30, Wasi lastly crossed over the Rio Grande into the USA, the place he thought he could be greeted with open arms by the American authorities and the particular forces he served alongside. He assumed they knew who he was.


“I’ve biometric knowledge with the U.S. navy,” Wasi mentioned. “Additionally, I’ve biometric with the particular pressure command. I used to be in Marmol Camp. There was U.S. navy there. U.S. Military was there. We went collectively to missions.”

Sami defined why they each really feel disillusioned within the U.S. authorities and the U.S. navy Wasi served.

“He’s deeply disillusioned. And he’s calling upon those that have been all the time telling him, ‘We’re combating in opposition to frequent enemy. We’re combating shoulder to shoulder.’ He’s calling upon those that have been calling him ‘battle buddy,’” Sami mentioned. “He was not anticipating this habits from United States officers in opposition to him. He was anticipating a hero’s welcome.”

As an alternative, after crossing the Rio Grande, a border patrol agent discovered him after following his footprints. Wasi requested the agent for asylum and was as a substitute arrested and charged with a federal crime for illegally getting into the nation. He was first taken to the Val Verde Correctional Facility and now sits within the Eden Detention Facility in Texas.

Ben Owen is a U.S. veteran who began the nonprofit Flanders Fields to assist homeless veterans and Afghans and has helped the Safi household navigate the authorized complexities.

“The evening he crossed, I believe he was with 90-plus different migrants, all of whom have been detained, all of whom have been launched. However the one dude that served with American forces who we all know, you understand, has America’s finest pursuits at coronary heart to the purpose that he would put himself in hurt’s solution to defend it, continues to be being held,” Owen advised Fox Information. 

Wasi is dealing with a prison sentence for crossing the border illegally and deportation to Afghanistan.

“To reply your query about how we all know who he’s, we had discovered him on the rolls by way of the final particular operation process pressure commander to go away Afghanistan,” Owen mentioned. “So he’s precisely who he says he’s. We have got all of the certifications. We all know he went to officer coaching in India and held command. I imply, these guys are extra vetted than you and I, Jennifer. We’re speaking annual polygraphs. We all know each single factor there may be to learn about them. There isn’t any likelihood that they are terrorists.”  

Immigrants wait to be processed by the U.S. Border Patrol after crossing the border from Mexico. The U.S.-Mexico border barrier is in the background Aug. 6, 2022 in Yuma, Ariz. 

Immigrants wait to be processed by the U.S. Border Patrol after crossing the border from Mexico. The U.S.-Mexico border barrier is within the background Aug. 6, 2022 in Yuma, Ariz. 
(Qian Weizhong/VCG through Getty Photographs)

In truth, even after Wasi was captured and incarcerated, his brother Sami continues to assist American veterans like Ben Owen. 

“This man continues to volunteer his providers and to place his coronary heart on the road for America, even after his brother was detained,” Owen recalled in disbelief. “This man continues to place himself in hurt’s approach for America, even after America has detained his brother and threatened him with deportation. It is unconscionable.”


Owen was referring to a latest volunteer effort wherein Sami joined him in Houston to catch a fugitive charged with homicide in Atlanta.

“I did every part I might to one of the best of my capability for this nation. My brother put his life in peril, working in a particular forces, which was not accepted by lots of people in Afghanistan. And I labored alongside the USA navy, and I used to be not anticipating this to occur to my brother,” Sami mentioned from his residence in Houston, 5 hours from the place his brother stays incarcerated in a U.S. detention facility with the nation’s worst criminals.

The Division of Homeland Safety has not answered Fox’s repeated requests for data on Wasi’s case. The Justice Division has declined to remark. His subsequent courtroom listening to is scheduled for Jan. 10.

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