A US war prisoner, who is a Russian veteran of the Soviet war in Afghanistan who defected to the Taliban and stayed in Afghanistan is being transferred to the United States for a criminal trial as opposed to military trial. Aside from the national security implications, and now criminal implications, this very interesting from an immigration lawyer perspective. What status will the prisoner be in when entering (ie. will he be given a visa such as B1/B2 visa)? Will his entry count as an admission so that he may not accrue unlawful presence? If he married a US Citizen after his entry could he get a green card? Also, what will be his country of nationality? If he were to prevail in the criminal trial, what will be his immigration status? Will he be placed in removal proceedings? When does the 1 year clock in asylum kick in? Can he concurrently apply for asylum or withholding of removal as soon as he got to the US? Since he has been in captivity since 2009 he likely provided information to the US government. The transferring of a war criminal to the US for civilian criminal procedures certainly raises a lot of questions. While the immigration issues are definitely secondary to this situation, they are certainly interesting immigration questions and will keep immigration lawyers debating for a while. It will be interesting to see how things play out.
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