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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Undocumented immigrant says Obama policy helps his quest to be lawyer

President Barack Obama’s decision last month to block deportations of young illegal immigrants could be a game-changer for Jose Godinez-Samperio, the undocumented immigrant who is fighting to become a lawyer.

In documents filed this week with the Florida Supreme Court, the lawyer for Godinez-Samperio says it’s impossible to overstate the significance of Obama’s decision for his client.

“The order is a statement by the Chief Executive of the United States that undocumented immigrants situated in the circumstances of this applicant should be allowed to stay in this country and be eligible for a work permit,” wrote lawyer Talbot "Sandy" D'Alemberte, a former state legislator and past president of Florida State University.

Godinez-Samperio was brought to the United States from Mexico when he was 9 years old. His parents had tourist visas but never returned after those visas expired. 

Godinez-Samperio went on to become the 2004 valedictorian of Armwood High School in Seffner and graduated from Florida State University Law School. He passed the bar exam last year, but the Florida Board of Bar Examiners declined to issue a decision on his application. Instead, the board asked the Florida Supreme Court to settle the question of whether undocumented immigrants are eligible for admission.

D’Alemberte told the Supreme Court that Obama’s policy announcement gives Godinez-Samperio a clear path to obtaining a permit to work as a lawyer in the U.S.

— Jodie Tillman, Times staff writer

[Last modified: Friday, July 6, 2012 3:46pm]


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