Tag Archives: Undocumented

Undocumented lawyer-to-be invited to State of the Union address by Rep. Kathy Castor

12 Feb US Rep Kathy Castor and Jose Manuel

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor invited Florida’s own Jose Manuel Godinez-Samperio to President Obama’s State of the Union on Tuesday, February 12. Jose Manuel traveled from central Florida to D.C. today to attend the address as Rep. Castor’s special guest. “I think this is the first time I’ve ever heard of it happening,” Jose Manuel said in a telephone call. “This is an historical moment because I don’t know of any other time when undocumented immigrants have been allowed at the State of the Union address.”

Jose Manuel Godinez-Samperio made history when he graduated from Florida State University Law School and passed the Florida Bar exam, then solicited admittance to the Florida Bar as an undocumented immigrant. The Florida Bar is now referring the question to the Florida Supreme Court.

Rep. Castor announced her invitation publicly Monday, February 11 at a press event outside the offices of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in Tampa, Fla. She posed for photos with Jose Manuel and took questions from reporters.  Following the event, Rep. Castor wrote on her Facebook page:

“I am honored to have as my guest for tomorrow’s State of the Union Address, Jose Manuel Godinez-Samperio. He graduated valedictorian of his class at Armwood High School and went on to attend Florida State Law School. His story is representative of so many young people in my district and across the nation who deserve Comprehensive Immigration Reform that will permanently create a pathway to citizenship. I will continue to fight to make their dream a reality.”

Rep. Castor is in her fourth term of serving the Tampa Bay area in the U.S. House of Representatives. “I think it is great,” Jose Manuel said about the representative’s endorsement of immigration reform. “We need more people to ‘Say Yes’: we need 216 in the House, 60 in the Senate, and one president to ‘Say Yes.’”

Read the full press release from Rep. Castor’s office here.

Will Jose Manuel be the first undocumented lawyer in Florida?

1 Oct

WITNESS HISTORY!  Tuesday, October 2nd, 9 am to 9:40 am

Tomorrow morning, the Florida Immigrant Coalition and other friends across the nation, will be glued to our computer screens, standing with Jose Manuel Godinez-Sampeiro ashis case is heard at the Florida Supreme Court.

The Court will hear arguments on whether Jose Manuel, an undocumented immigrant, can be admitted to the Florida Bar to practice law. Jose Manuel is honored to have the Distinguished Prof. Sandy D’Alemberte arguing in his favor. Prof. D’Alemberte authored the Florida Constitution, was President of the American Bar Association, President of FSU and Dean of the Law School.

You can witness part of history tomorrow by clicking here.

Jose Manuel was born in Mexico and came to Florida with his parents at the age of 9. Through the years he endeavored, overcoming many obstacles to pursue his education. Back in 2007, after graduating from New College and becoming involved with the immigrant rights movement, he applied to Florida State University (FSU) Law School, admitting in his application essay to being undocumented. After graduating and passing the Bar exam, he solicited to be admitted to the Florida Bar. Now The Florida Bar is referring the question to the Florida Supreme Court.

Below are brief words from Jose Manuel on the eve of his court case:

“I am feeling anxious, but also encouraged by overwhelming support; not just from the immigrant rights movement, but even from those who normally espouse anti-immigrant sentiment. Tomorrow I expect to have seven impartial Justices asking a lot of different questions. I hope they see that I have complied with all the requirements. If I get admitted, I would feel extraordinary. I would be able to be a lawyer and practice law, which is about justice and justice has always been very important to me. Did I ever doubt I could become a lawyer? All the time. Semester after semester, I wondered if and how I could afford to pay tuition; studying but never knowing whether I would be allowed to take the Bar exam. But my family inspired me. “El NO ya lo tienes”, they said. If I gave it a shot, I would have a maybe, not knowing but continuing forward. I get my strength from God. If it is His will, it will happen. My message to all of us is don’t give up. Keep trying. We have to win at all levels. Ultimately, we need federal immigration reform.”

We are grateful to Jose Manuel and all those who face exclusion but find the courage and strength to stand for dignity and freedom. May they receive our prayers and may their example inspire us all to action.

Click on this link to hear the arguments in Jose Manuel’s case: http://www.wfsu.org/gavel2gavel/index.php