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Man's request to practice law denied by Florida Supreme Court

As regular readers of this blog may be aware, we have been following the plight of an undocumented immigrant who resides in Florida who is seeking to become licensed to practice law. Though he passed the bar several years ago, because he is not a citizen of the United States, he has not yet been sworn in as part of the Florida Bar. In this post we provide an update on the matter.

Though not a citizen, the young man has many of things necessary to work in the nation. In addition to having a Florida driver's license, he also has a permit to work in the state and a Social Security number. He was able to obtain these under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals directive. The former honors student currently works as a paralegal.

Earlier this month the Florida Supreme Court ruled on the matter. It determined that based on the state's current laws the man cannot be sworn in. This decision is the opposite of the one recently rendered concerning a California man in a similar situation. That decision was likely aided by that state's passage of a law that overrode the federal law that makes it impossible for an undocumented immigrant to receive professional licenses.

In the opinion the Florida Supreme Court justices specifically pointed out that the Florida Legislature is positioned to change laws that keep the man from obtaining his law license. It is likely that others would benefit from such a change as well. Whether the legislature will take any action in that regard remains to be seen.

Source: The Miami Herald, "Florida Supreme Court rules immigrant cannot join Bar," Steve Bousquet, March 6, 2014

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