Job Deferred for Undocumented Lawyer
October 4, 2012 By Alicia Ramsay

After an hour of legal argument on Tuesday, Florida Supreme Court is still debating whether an undocumented immigrant can practice law in the state.

A native of Mexico, Jose Godinez-Samperio is an aspiring attorney who has earned his law degree but cannot practice because he is an undocumented child of immigrants.

Godinez-Samperio came on a legal visa with his parents to the U.S. when he was nine. He passed the bar exam last year but has not yet been admitted. The board of bar examiners has asked for guidance from the Florida Supreme Court.

According to The Miami Herald, Florida Supreme Court is certain that this case won't be resolved before the Presidential election next month.

"It was a sense of history," Godinez-Samperio said after the court session. "I think this is very similar to when the first African-Americans, or the first women, were admitted to practice law."

The result of the Presidential election next month could change immigration policies again. In June, President Obama declared that certain undocumented immigrants under 30 years old would be allowed to remain in the U.S without fear of deportation. The deferment act grants the 26-year-old a work permit to practice law legally in the U.S.

"He's done everything he's supposed to do. He's complied with all the rules," said Godinez-Samperio's attorney and former Florida State University President Talbot" Sandy" D'Alemberte. "What else would you want in a lawyer?"

Godinez-Samperio speaks fluent English, was valedictorian in his class at Armwood High School in Tampa, Florida and graduated from New College in Sarasota and Florida State University law school.

Godinez-Samperio's case is the first of its kind to appear before Florida's Supreme Court.

Visitor Comments (1)
Posted By LINGOSO on October 5, 2012
Everytime I think about immigrants in this country and how much opportunities they allow us to have until it counts. They allowed him to go to school and finish, they let him get all his credentials and now at his shining moment when it matters, he can't perform his duty.He spent 7 or 8 years of schooling and months of studying for the bar exam passed and now when he got his first opportunity to do his first case they are giving him a hard time. I am constantly annoyed when I hear stories of people from other countries come here for a bachelors degree when they had a PHD in their country, when doctors drive taxis and lawyers or architects work at starbucks, I thought this was the land of the free and opportunity, more like the land of slavery and cheap labour. They shake your hand and tell you that you did a good job, and when it counts you can't do the job. The reason why I am so angry is because I too am an immigrant, but I am one step away from becoming a citizen and I can honestly say I'm not rushing it.
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