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New York Court Allows First Undocumented Immigrant to Practice Law
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undocumented immigrant can practice law

Summary: New York’s Supreme Court allows illegal immigrant to practice law.

Cesar Vargas has become the third immigrant lacking legal status, and the first in New York, to gain the legal approval to practice law. The 31-year-old Mexican born man passed the bar in 2011 after graduating from City University of New York Law School, interning with a State Supreme Court judge, at the Brooklyn district attorney’s office.


“This decision now provides a road map for all the other states,” said Jose Luis Perez, Vargas’ lawyer.

The decision to let him practice, made by the appellate panel of the State Supreme Court, made Wednesday, overturned a 2013 decision to deny him permission to practice law because of his immigration status.

The State Supreme Court’s Second Judicial Department of the Appellate Division said it found “no legal impediment or rational basis for withholding the privilege of practicing law in the state of New York from undocumented immigrants who have been granted DACA relief,” a reference to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals legislation.

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“We find that Mr. Vargas’s undocumented immigration status, in and of itself, does not reflect adversely upon his general fitness to practice law. Mr. Vargas did not enter the United States in violation of the immigration laws of his own volition, but rather came to the United States at the age of 5 at the hand of his mother.”

“This wasn’t just about one person; this was about countless other students across New York State and across the country,” said Vargas. “This is a precedent I wanted to make. I think this is really great momentum that is going to extend to other policies.”

The hope was to make a difference in immigration law, the way a bill in Albany failed last year, which had intended to allow unauthorized immigrants to practice law.

News Source: New York Times


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