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Supreme Court Says Immigrant Can't Get Law License

By: Associated Press News Email
By: Associated Press News Email

Associated Press News Release

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- The Florida Supreme Court says the Florida Bar can't admit immigrants who are in the country illegally.

The case involves Jose Godinez-Samperio, who came to the United States from Mexico with his parents when he was 9 years old. The family remained in the country after their tourist visa expired and Godinez-Samperio later graduated from Florida State University's law school. He passed the bar two years ago.

But the court ruled that federal law prohibits people who are unlawfully in the country from obtaining professional licenses. The Justices said state law can override the federal ban, but Florida has taken no action to do so.


CBS Web Copy

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. A man brought into the country as a child on a visitor's visa has been denied a license to practice law.

The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday denied Jose Godinez-Samperio's motion for admission to the Bar.

That's because the court can't rule on his admission until it resolves the question of whether people who enter or remain in the U.S. without legal permission can be attorneys in Florida. That decision is pending.

Godinez-Samperio's parents brought him to the United States from Mexico on a visitor's visa when he was 9. They overstayed their visas and never returned to Mexico.

He graduated from Florida State University's law school and already has passed the Florida bar examination.

In January, CBS Miami reported that the state's high court decided to hold off on making a decision until the federal government acted on his application for deferral and a work permit.

President Barack Obama announced the deferral policy for young illegal immigrants in June.


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