Undocumented Law Student Wants the Chance to Take the Bar Exam

Jose Godinez-Samperio has been working hard to become a lawyer for many years. Recently graduating from Florida State University and passing the bar exam, the only thing that stops Godinez-Samperio from becoming a successful lawyer is his immigration status.

Originally hailing from Mexico, Godinez-Samperio came to the United States with his parents when he was 9 years old on tourist visas. Godinez-Samperio, who is now 25, had little choice in the matter of how his family chose to come to the United States.

Beyond his current status, Godinez-Samperio has been a model student and youth. Growing up in Florida, Godinez-Samperio was a boy scout, reaching the level of Eagle Scout with his troop, and was valedictorian of his high school class.

Throughout his education, Godinez-Samperio has been open about his citizenship status, and was admitted to his alma mater without this fact being covered up. Some law experts have stated that there are no rules that an individual must prove his or her immigration status before being admitted to the bar.  However, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported federal law does prevent Godinez-Samperio from earning a living practicing law, so he’d essentially be limited to working pro bono cases.

Godinez-Samperio’s heartbreaking story is not an isolated incident. Many students who are both bright and motivated but without U.S. citizenship or permanent residency have been severely   restricted from furthering their careers due to their status. Randolph Sealey was almost deported due to his undocumented status, but was given permanent residency after a judge canceled his deportation proceedings, according to the recently published book, “Green Card Stories.” Sealey now works as an orthopedic surgeon.