Monday, January 22, 2018
Editorials

Immigrant should be licensed as lawyer

Jose Godinez-Samperio would seem to be the ideal candidate to be admitted into the Florida Bar to practice law. He is an Eagle Scout who succeeded academically as his high school valedictorian and later in college and law school. But although he has passed the Bar exam, Godinez-Samperio has not been granted a license to practice law. He was brought to the United States from Mexico by his parents when he was 9 years old, and he is an undocumented immigrant. The Florida Supreme Court, which conducted a hearing into Godinez-Samperio's status this week, should reject this senseless policy and issue an advisory opinion that would allow the accomplished young man to be admitted to the state Bar.

Godinez-Samperio, a graduate of Armwood High School in Seffner, is a victim of the nation's illogical immigration policy. It was not his decision to be brought to the United States at a young age. It was not his fault his parents overstayed their visas. Godinez-Samperio pursued the American dream of forging a better life for himself. As a product of Florida's public education system, taxpayers have invested in Godinez-Samperio's success. Yet, although he has been an exemplary student and a community asset, the Board of Bar Examiners could not agree if his undocumented immigration status disqualified him to practice law.

Godinez-Samperio's attorney, Talbot "Sandy" D'Alemberte, a former state legislator and Florida State University president who once headed the American Bar Association, has argued the Board of Bar Examiners overstepped its authority by applying an unwise policy "without a valid purpose" rather than an established rule governing the admission process. Godinez-Samperio makes a strong case for his Bar admission by noting President Barack Obama's executive order that allows younger undocumented immigrants to remain here legally and obtain temporary work permits that can be renewed.

Those are good reasons for the Florida Supreme Court to issue an advisory ruling in Godinez-Samperio's favor that would clear the way for the Bar to admit him so he can practice law. He should not have to wait for Washington to craft a sensible, compassionate and comprehensive immigration policy.

Comments
Editorial: Beware of social media targeting kids

Editorial: Beware of social media targeting kids

Ignoring all available evidence that screen time and social media exposure can be harmful to kids, Facebook recently unveiled a new messaging app targeting children under 13. It’s yet another battlefront for parents who have to constantly combat the ...
Published: 01/21/18
Editorial: Too soon for Tampa Bay to settle for buses over light rail

Editorial: Too soon for Tampa Bay to settle for buses over light rail

The good news on the transportation front is that Tampa Bay’s government and business leaders are working together like never before to connect the region’s largest cities, attractions and employment centers with a more robust mass transit system. Th...
Published: 01/20/18
Editorial: Saying ‘thank you’ helps Tampa police build needed trust

Editorial: Saying ‘thank you’ helps Tampa police build needed trust

The smiles, applause and at least one hug belied the grim impetus for a gathering last week at a neighborhood center in Tampa — the Seminole Heights killings.The Tampa Police Department held a ceremony to thank those who helped in the investigation t...
Published: 01/19/18
Updated: 01/21/18
Editorial: Criminal charges should finally wake up FSU fraternities to hazing’s dangers

Editorial: Criminal charges should finally wake up FSU fraternities to hazing’s dangers

The death last fall of a 20-year-old Florida State University fraternity pledge revealed pervasive dangerous behavior within the school’s Greek system. Andrew Coffey, a Pi Kappa Phi pledge, died from alcohol poisoning after an off-campus party, and a...
Published: 01/19/18

Editorial: Confronting racial distrust in St. Petersburg, one conversation at a time

The St. Petersburg Police Department’s heavy presence in Midtown on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the community animosity it stirred have raised a familiar, troubling question: Can St. Petersburg’s racial divisions ever be reconciled?That big ideal ...
Published: 01/19/18
William March: Tampa Bay Democrats line up for state legislative races

William March: Tampa Bay Democrats line up for state legislative races

A surge of Democrats seeking local legislative offices and hoping for a "blue wave" in the 2018 election continued last week, led by Bob Buesing filing to run again versus state Sen. Dana Young, R-Tampa.In addition:• Heather Kenyon Stahl of Tampa has...
Published: 01/19/18

Editorial: State’s warning shot should get attention of Hillsborough schools

The state Board of Education hopefully sent the message this week with its warning shot about the slow pace of the turnaround at Hillsborough County’s low-performing schools.The board criticized the school system for failing to replace administrators...
Published: 01/18/18
Updated: 01/19/18
Editorial: More talk, answers needed on future of USF St. Petersburg

Editorial: More talk, answers needed on future of USF St. Petersburg

The Florida Legislature’s abrupt move to strip the University of South Florida St. Petersburg of its hard-earned separate accreditation and transform it back into a satellite of the major research university lacks detail and an appreciation for histo...
Published: 01/18/18

Another voice: Self-dealing by nursing home owners threatens patient care

The outsourcing of logistical support services, which became commonplace in the U.S. military in the 1990s and later was adopted by state prison systems, has now come to dominate the nursing home industry. And while nursing homes, unlike the military...
Published: 01/17/18
Editorial: Making illegal sewage discharges legal is wrong answer

Editorial: Making illegal sewage discharges legal is wrong answer

Three years into a crisis with its sewer system, St. Petersburg has a dandy new idea for dealing with the environmental fallout of dumping dirty water into the aquifer. Instead of committing to banning the outlawed practice, a consultant suggested th...
Published: 01/16/18
Updated: 01/17/18