Undocumented law grad seeks bar admission

April 16, 2012 at 3:31 PM
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TAMPA, Fla., April 16 (UPI) -- The Florida Supreme Court will decide if an undocumented immigrant can practice law in the state.

The resume of Jose Godinez-Samperio, 25, includes Eagle Scout, high school class valedictorian and graduate of the Florida State University School of Law, but lacks a green card. The Tampa-area resident, a native of Mexico, legally entered the United States with his parents in 1996 on a tourist visa. The Florida Board of Bar Examiners, which grants membership and the authority to practice law in the state, has asked the state Supreme Court if it can accept someone not legally in the country, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported Sunday.

Godinez-Samperio has been candid about his undocumented status in every college and law school application, attorney Sandy D'Alemberte said, adding, "It's unfair to deny him the credentials he's earned." D'Alemberte said there is nothing in past rulings to disqualify him.

"No one who has shown this guy's level of contempt for American law should be practicing law," said William Gheen of Americans for Legal Immigration, a political action committee opposed to amnesty for undocumented immigrants.

The Florida Supreme Court flagged the case as a "high priority" last week, the newspaper reported.

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