Putting Education Reform To The Test

Nearly-Deported DREAM Act Student Shamir Ali: In His Own Words

Courtesy of Shamir Ali

Shamir Ali, 25, with his mother Shamim Sultana of Bangladesh. She was deported in Feb. 2009 for driving without a license.

Days after Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) told StateImpact Florida that DREAM Act student Shamir Ali was a “fugitive alien,” Ali was released from detention.

We got in touch with Ali, who is now making new college plans. Ali says he shouldn’t have been facing deportation and is thankful to be out. Here’s Ali, in his own words:

“I am still in disbelief! The back and forth was such a psychological roller coaster. They first denied me prosecutorial discretion but then approved it after all the media attention. Pretty much, it was all the support I received from people… Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart!

I was given an order of supervision for one year which lets me work, drive, and etc. I have to visit with an ICE officer every month and if I’m doing well, they will renew it after that year expires. I am VERY grateful for that … [and] I do appreciate ICE granting me that. I just wish they accepted it automatically since I qualify for everything under the Morton Memo released by ICE. All the media attention, petitions, and protests is what really pushed ICE to release me.

Basically the Morton Memo says they will release detainees with deferred action if they came as a minor (I have), have no other home (I don’t), and is DREAM Act Eligible (I am). I don’t even know how to read or write Bangla and can barely speak it. All the hassle of petitions, protests, and media attention is not required if ICE themselves set forth a “new policy shift” a few months ago saying particularly that they were going to release students like myself with documents, who are no threat.

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. I was pleading with every ICE official I came across and told them my story. They said even if I was to be released I would at least spend a few months there.

As for what I’m going to be doing, as soon as my work permit comes in the mail I am signing up for FULL TIME classes and getting my license and car! I’m so excited to get back on track to getting my Bachelors in Business Administration.

… I hope my case helps other innocent students like me to get some footing in the only country they can call home.”


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