Can Undocumented Aliens Practice Law

Jose Godinez-Samperio's parents brought him to the U.S. illegally when he was nine. Seventeen years later, he has graduated from college, law school and passed the Florida bar. Only his citizenship stands between Jose and his dream of being a lawyer. "It is not really about this applicant. It is a broader question".

Now, the Florida Supreme Court is being asked to decide if that's possible. Federal law seems to say no. "Doesn't this court have an obligation to follow the federal law?" said Supreme Court Justice Charles Canady.

In June, the Obama administration cleared the path for Jose to get a work permit. The court wondered if that would still be policy after November.

"Person that is supposing the current precedent become precedent and has he said he's going to announce that policy?” said Justice Barbara Pariente.

Afterwards, Jose told reporters he was optimistic. "The voters need to take that into the account that the President that they elect is going to make a lot of these policy changes and they need to have a President, a candidate that's clear on what his position on immigration. Certainly, Mitt Romney has been a failure about being clear about his immigration position.’

But his lawyer Sandy D’Alemberte calls federal law a mess. "The federal law is so fouled up. Not just for failure to pass the DREAM Act, but generally it's just a mess".

But the court order rule in Jose's favor will likely require that he have a social security card. No decision is expected before the election.

At least one justice says the Board of Bar Examiners should never have allowed the case to get as far as it has without input from the court. Another called Jose the poster child for immigration reform, but believes the courts hands are tied when it comes to admitting him to the bar.


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