The Florida Supreme Court's ruling that Jose Godinez-Samperio, an undocumented worker, cannot attain his license to practice law is patently foolhardy, insensitive and inexcusable, as this commentator sees it. Godinez-Samperio has been in the United States since he was nine years old, according to America.aljazeera on March 9. Does Godinez-Samperio fit the stereotype of the desperate, undocumented worker who crosses the border in the dark of night? Does he disrespect the laws of our country? Does he seek to dismantle our government and financial institutions for his own personal needs? Is he threatening to take somebody's job away from them as a practicing lawyer?
It goes without saying that the answer to all of these questions is an emphatic,"No!" Not only does Mr. Godinez-Samperio not disrespect our institutions and our laws, but he seeks to become an officer of the court as a lawyer. A college student can attend and graduate from a law school and work as a paralegal, legal secretary or documents writer for a law firm; but those who wish to practice law before a court, must pass the bar exam. Mr. Godinez-Samperio should be commended for his hard work and his dedication to the practice of law as an officer of the court.
This situation calls into mind the verse from Exodus 20:5: "The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father." Mr. Godinez-Samperio's parents brought him across the border when he was nine years old, long before he was responsible for his actions as an adult. Mr. Godinez-Samperio is responsible for what he does as an adult, not for what his parents did before he was responsible.
As an adult, Mr. Godinez-Samperio has been more than responsible. He has worked hard, put his way through law school, passed the bar exam and applied to be an officer of the court as a practicing lawyer. Furthermore, he has been working as a paralegal providing free legal services to people in the Tampa area.
As a youth, Godinez-Samperio was an Eagle Scout. It is no wonder that he is very upset over the Florida Supreme Court's decision. He stated:
"I'm feeling very disappointed, but more than anything I'm feeling outraged at Congress, that they have failed to take action on immigration reform, they have failed to take action on dreamers issues, and actually I'm feeling outraged at the president as well."
This is the country in which Mr. Godinez-Samperio grew up. It is where he attended school, went to the prom, graduated from high school and went to college, including law school. It is where he created and launched his dreams, defined his character, and developed patriotism toward the Red, White and Blue. It is where he ate hot dogs, drank root beer, learned to dance, and watched the 4th of July parade. This is his country, his turf, and his home, and we are his people.
We owe it to Mr. Godinez-Samperio, and more importantly we owe it to ourselves, to allow him to practice law and make his mark on our nation in the tradition of excellence that we have set for ourselves as a People.