Shamir was 7 years old when his mother, fleeing persecution, brought him to the United States. Though she applied for asylum, her case was ultimately denied. He grew up attending school and dreaming of a career as a computer engineer. After graduating from high school, he attended Palm Beach State College but was forced to temporarily suspend his dream because he couldn’t afford to pay out-of-state tuition fees.
In October 2011, Shamir was arrested when the FBI raided a Miami car dealership that reportedly owed back taxes. Shamir, 25, had no involvement in any crime. Yet the FBI turned him over to ICE after he was unable to prove he had legal status, and Shamir was detained at the Broward Transitional Center. ICE denied the first request to release Shamir and grant him temporary relief from deportation. Fortunately, his sympathetic story inspired media attention. AI Justice submitted a legal brief asking ICE to reconsider its decision. He was released from detention within 24 hours.
"My time in jail was horrible. I had no idea what would happen to me, especially after their initial denial a few days after I was detained. Not knowing if you will be able to stay in the only country you know and love was unbearable. AI Justice saved my life. What they did – it’s a miracle. I really can’t express how thankful I am."