Texas Democrat hints at ‘major progress’ in Afghan soldier’s asylum case

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas)
Greg Nash
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) is seen as the House votes to adjourn on the second day of the 118th session of Congress on Wednesday, January 4, 2023. The House held three more ballots for Speaker, with neither Reps. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) or Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) getting enough votes.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) said on Tuesday that “major progress” in an asylum case for Afghan soldier Abdul Wasi Safi is expected in the next few days.

“Working with all the federal agencies involved and a top-notch legal team for Abdul Wasi Safi, I will be announcing that major progress is expected in the next few days regarding the status of Mr. Safi,” she said in a statement on Twitter.

Wasi Safi was a soldier in the Afghan military who kept documents detailing how he worked with the U.S. military during his time in the military. He fled Afghanistan out of fear that the Taliban would punish him after the U.S. withdrew from the country in August 2021, and crossed the U.S. border in September 2022.

Throughout his journey, he held on to the documents that proved his relationship with the U.S. military in hopes that the documentation would grant him asylum in the U.S. But when he crossed the U.S.-Mexico border near Eagle Pass, Texas, he was arrested on a federal immigration charge and is now being held in a detention center in Eden, Texas.

Jackson Lee and other lawmakers, including Republican Reps. Dan Crenshaw (Texas) and Michael Waltz (Fla.) have called for Wasi Safi’s freedom while his asylum case is reviewed. A coalition of veterans groups called on the White House to intervene in Wasi Safi’s case in December by granting him a parolee status as he waits for a decision.

Jackson Lee also sent a letter to President Biden last week, urging him to pardon Wasi Safi of his immigration-related charges. Lee said on Tuesday that Wasi Safi needs medical care, and that it is “clear” that he assisted U.S. forces as an Afghan solider.

“It’s been a long journey and he has suffered a lot and is in need of medical care,” she said in her statement. “It is clear that in his capacity as a member of the Afghan military, he helped American soldiers. We’re looking forward to helping him as we seek to free him and as he seeks asylum in the United States of America.”

Tags Abdul Wasi Safi afghanistan withdrawal Aghanistan asylum seekers Sheila Jackson Lee Sheila Jackson Lee
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