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Esquire Account of Afghan Asylum Seeker Highlights Advocacy by ’12 Alumnus

Matthew Borowski, '12

August 17, 2017

Matthew Borowski,’12, emerges as a legal hero in a harrowing, 6,300-word Esquire magazine account of an Afghan Army captain rebuffed in his quest for asylum after he assisted in U.S. operations aimed at capturing and killing Taliban leaders.

The article, published Aug. 16, chronicles the journey of Noorullah Aminyar, an Afghan Army Captain who commanded a company of U.S. special operations solders tasked with capturing Taliban leaders in 2012. During a training exercise at a National Guard base in Cape Cod in 2014, Aminyar learned that the Taliban back home had invaded his home and beaten his family. Amidst an ill-advised effort to flee, he and two fellow Afghan officers wound up in a legal no-man’s land while seeking asylum at the Canadian border in Niagara Falls, N.Y.

Borowski, who practices immigration law in Buffalo, N.Y. with classmate Ryan Witmer, represented Aminyar and one of the other officers, Jan Arash, on a pro bono basis.

Borowski was able to win Arash’s release after a year, based on the Taliban’s harassment of his family. But Aminyar’s legal circumstances were different, requiring Borowski to find creative means to prove that the Taliban is potent enough to constitute a de-facto government in much of Afghanistan and that his client had become a target because of his alliance with the U.S.

“In other words,” the article said, “Borowski's task was to convince the immigration and justice divisions of the U.S. government that their fellow federal agency, the Department of Defense, had failed in their mission to destroy the Taliban."

The article notes that Borowski’s creative legal strategies won Aminyar’s release from detention, even though his ultimate fate will not be decided until he goes before an immigration judge in Buffalo on Aug. 22.