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