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Bar admission open to unauthorized immigrants if new bill passes

Reports say that the Florida State Senate recently approved a new measure that could allow unauthorized immigrants to become attorneys in the state. The bill is now set to go before the House.

According to sources, a man who came to the U.S. when he was a child became the subject of a Florida Court ruling in March 2014 regarding his eligibility to be admitted to the Florida Bar as a practicing attorney. The man had already passed the Florida Bar Exam in 2011. However, the court ruled that he could not be given his law license because he is not a legal citizen.

On April 25, a new measure proposing additional amendments to an existing family law bill regarding unauthorized immigration status passed with a 25 to 12 vote. The amendment would allow unauthorized immigrants who came to the U.S. as minors to be admitted to the Bar in Florida. According to the new proposal, the immigrant would need to be a resident of the state for at least a decade and fulfill the requirements to be an attorney in order to be granted admission to the Bar.

Proponents of the bill stressed that those who were brought to the country without having their own choice should not be punished for the actions of others. However, opponents believe that the ten year minimum is not enough and that procedures already exist for achieving lawful residency status.

Those facing legal hardships due to their immigration status could consult with an attorney to discuss their options. An attorney with experience in immigration law may be able to help an individual navigate this system and achieve a lawful permanent residency status.

Source: Orlando Sentinel, "Bill would allow illegal immigrants to get Florida law licenses", Tonya Alanez, April 25, 2014

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