Undocumented Resident Applies to Florida Bar
Jose Godinez-Samperio, 25, came to the U.S. on a tourist visa with his parents when he was 9. He stayed in the U.S. (a civil infraction, not a crime), was an Eagle Scout, the valedictorian of his high school and graduated from the Florida State University law school. He fully disclosed his status on every application. Florida's Rules of the Supreme Court Relating to Admissions to the Bar do not require proof of citizenship or immigration status. But now there's an issue as to whether he, as an undocumented immigrant, can be admitted to the Bar, and the Florida Supreme Court will decide.
Many Amicus Briefs have been filed on Jose's behalf. The Dream Bar Association's brief is really good, as is the brief by three former ABA Presidents, including two who are friends of mine, Martha Barnett and Reece Smith. Jose also has the support of his Congresswoman,Kathy Castor, of Tampa: [More...]
"To deny these students the opportunity to become doctors or lawyers or practice another profession is to deny the state of Florida and all of our neighbors an educated and talented workforce,"
In a letter she wrote in support of Jose's application, she writes:
It is a shame that his legal status is even in question. I have championed passage of the DREAM act precisely for students like Jose. If the DREAM Act were in place right now, students like Jose Godinez-Samperio would automatically be admitted to the Florida Bar, and immigrants who meet the DREAM Act criteria would be able to access loans for college and even go on to law school or obtain other graduate degrees. We must encourage our nation’s next generation - not place obstacles in their path to success.
The Tampa Bay Times ran an editorial last month, Don't deny law school graduate fruits of his labor.
The Florida Supreme Court should see the waste and arbitrariness of allowing a law school graduate to make it this far only to be denied the full use of his achievements. And Americans, and Floridians in particular who enjoy the benefits of such a diverse state of immigrants, should recognize the costs of an immigration policy that denies millions the chance to give back to the communities where they are called friends and neighbors, fellow students and colleagues — and where they call home.
Here is the appendix to his Supreme Court brief, containing all his achievements, and more. This really says a lot about the sad state of our immigration laws:
As a high school sophomore, the petitioner was selected for a scholarship from McDonald's. However, McDonald's would not disburse the scholarship funds because he could not prove that he was a Florida resident. Ineligible for a driver's license or a state identification card, he was not able to receive the scholarship.
On April 4, the Florida Supreme Court designated the case high-profile due to the importance of the issue.
This is why we need the DREAM Act. Give Jose his bar card, he's earned it.
|< Sunday Night Open Thread | Monday News and Open Thread >|