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Florida Supreme Court rules that applicants for admission to Florida Bar are required to demonstrate that they are legally present in the United States.  [Added 3/6/14]

    Responding to a petition for advisory opinion filed by the Florida Board of Bar Examiners, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that undocumented immigrants are not eligible for admission to the Florida Bar.

    The Court based its decision on 8 U.S.C. sec. 1621(c), which the Court noted provides "aliens who lack lawful immigration status are ineligible for certain public benefits (unless  a state takes specific action as set forth in 8 U.S.C. 1621(d))."  The Court indicated that the state legislature must take this "specific action" in the form of enactment of a state law.  No such law exists in Florida, per the Court.

    The Court summarized:  "Simply stated, current federal law prohibits this Court from issuing a license to practice law to an unlawful or unauthorized immigrant."

    Justice Labarga filed an opinion, joined by Justice Pariente, in which he "reluctantly" concurred in the majority's decision.  Florida Board of Bar Examiners re: Question as to Whether Undocumented Immigrants are Eligible for Admission to the Florida Bar, __ So.3d __ (Fla., No. SC11-2568, 3/6/2014.

 

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