Saturday, November 18, 2017
Editorials

Immigrant should be licensed as lawyer

RECOMMENDED READING


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: Good for Tampa council member Frank Reddick to appeal for community help to solve Seminole Heights killings

As the sole black member of the Tampa City Council, Frank Reddick was moved Thursday to make a special appeal for help in solving four recent murders in the racially mixed neighborhood of Southeast Seminole Heights. "I’m pleading to my brothers. You ...
Published: 11/17/17
Editorial: It’s time to renew community’s commitment to Tampa Theatre

Editorial: It’s time to renew community’s commitment to Tampa Theatre

New attention to downtown Tampa as a place to live, work and play is transforming the area at a dizzying pace. Credit goes to recent projects, both public and private, such as the Tampa River Walk, new residential towers, a University of South Florid...
Published: 11/17/17
Editorial: Rays opening offer on stadium sounds too low

Editorial: Rays opening offer on stadium sounds too low

The Rays definitely like Ybor City, and Ybor City seems to like the Rays. So what could possibly come between this match made in baseball stadium heaven? Hundreds (and hundreds and hundreds) of millions of dollars. Rays owner Stu Sternberg told Times...
Published: 11/16/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Editorial: Wage hike for contractors’ labor misguided

Editorial: Wage hike for contractors’ labor misguided

St. Petersburg City Council members are poised to raise the minimum wage for contractors who do business with the city, a well-intended but misguided ordinance that should be reconsidered. The hourly minimum wage undoubtedly needs to rise — for every...
Published: 11/16/17

Editorial: Make workplaces welcoming, not just free of harassment

A federal trial began last week in the sex discrimination case that a former firefighter lodged against the city of Tampa. Tanja Vidovic describes a locker-room culture at Tampa Fire Rescue that created a two-tier system — one for men, another for wo...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Editorial: Firing a critic of his handling of the sewer crisis is a bad early step in Kriseman’s new term

Editorial: Firing a critic of his handling of the sewer crisis is a bad early step in Kriseman’s new term

Barely a week after St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman promised to unite the city following a bitter and divisive campaign, his administration has fired an employee who dared to criticize him. It seems Kriseman’s own mantra of "moving St. Pete forwar...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/16/17
Editorial: USF’s billion-dollar moment

Editorial: USF’s billion-dollar moment

The University of South Florida recently surpassed its $1 billion fundraising goal, continuing a current trend of exceeding expectations. At 61 years old — barely middle age among higher education institutions — USF has grown up quickly. It now boast...
Published: 11/14/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Editorial: Vets should not have to wait years for benefits

Editorial: Vets should not have to wait years for benefits

American military members hurt in service to their country should not have to wait a lifetime for the benefits they deserve. But that’s a reality of the disability process at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which hasn’t made payi...
Published: 11/14/17

Editorial: Deputies’ rescue reflects best in law enforcement

The bravery two Hillsborough County sheriff’s deputies showed a week ago is a credit to them and reflects the professionalism of the office.Deputies Benjamin Thompson and Trent Migues responded at dusk Nov. 11 after 82-year-old Leona Evans of Webster...
Published: 11/13/17
Updated: 11/17/17

Another voice: An untrustworthy deal with Russia

President Donald Trump’s latest defense of Russian leader Vladimir Putin included — along with a bow to his denials of meddling in the U.S. election — an appeal to pragmatism. "Having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing,"...
Published: 11/13/17
Updated: 11/14/17