ROCKVILLE, Md. (AP) — An appeals court has ruled that an Afghan refugee granted asylum in 1999 can stay in the U.S. despite pleading guilty to second-degree assault on a Montgomery County police officer.

The Daily Record of Baltimore reports the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday reversed a final order of removal against Ali Sina Karimi.

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Karimi was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving in 2007 and taken to a police station. Karimi admitted he grabbed the hand of a police officer who was processing his arrest and was yelling and disruptive. The officer said in a statement Karimi also spat on her arm and acted as if he was going to strike her. Karimi denied that but pleaded guilty to driving under the influence and misdemeanor second-degree assault.

Department of Homeland Security officials sought to terminate his asylum as a result of the assault conviction. Immigration judges in Texas and Baltimore agreed, and the Bureau of Immigration Affairs dismissed his appeal.

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But a three-judge panel of the 4th Circuit disagreed, ruling 2-1 for Karimi. Judge Albert Diaz wrote for a majority that “the Attorney General has not met his burden of proving Karimi’s removability as an aggravated felon.”

The dissenting judge in the case, Judge Robert B. King Jr., said the court should not have heard the case because the U.S. Attorney General had filed a motion to remand the case to the Bureau of Immigration Affairs. King said the Bureau of Immigration Affairs should have reconsidered Karimi’s appeal before the 4th Circuit ruled on it.
Information from: The Daily Record of Baltimore,

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