Florida’s Supreme Court is currently debating the fate of a man who graduated from law school and passed the Florida Bar exam after disclosing that he does not hold legal status in the United States. Jose Godinez-Samperio is trying to become the first illegal immigrant to obtain a law license, which has been met skepticism from Supreme Court justices.
Godinez-Samperio came here from Mexico with his parents on a U.S. visitor visa when he was nine-years-old, but his family never went home. He earned a law degree from Florida State University and passed the Florida Bar exam after the Board of Bar Examiners waived a 2008 requirement for applicants to present proof of residency or U.S. citizenship.
However, the Board has since turned to Florida’s highest courts for guidance on how to proceed with Godinez-Samperio’s law license.
Judges accused the Florida Board of Bar Examiners of placing the state in an uncomfortable situation for allowing Jose Godinez-Samperio to take the bar if they were not prepared to admit him after he passed.
“It seems very strange,” said Justice R. Fred Lewis. “You bring a person to the edge and you push him off the cliff… I’m just at a loss as to how the board put the state in this kind of position.”
Immigration experts see the case as one that continues the fight between President Barack Obama’s administration and certain U.S. states that are trying to maintain stricter immigration laws.
Godinez-Samperio applied for the deferred action for childhood arrivals program in August 2012. If he receives consideration, he will legally be granted a two year work permit and will be able to practice as a lawyer regardless of the Supreme Court’s decision.
This article is brought to you by Immigration Direct, a trusted resource for matters related to the government’s deferred action program. Take the Free Deferred Action Eligibility Quiz online today.