Rule Governing the Utah State Bar, Supreme Court Rules of Professional Practice – Comment Period Closed January 23, 2020

CJA14-0721. Admission of undocumented immigrants. NEW RULE. This new rule will allow certain undocumented immigrants with deferred action status to be eligible for admission to the Utah Bar. The Utah Supreme Court has included a statement explaining the Court’s authority to create this rule.

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100 thoughts on “Rule Governing the Utah State Bar, Supreme Court Rules of Professional Practice – Comment Period Closed January 23, 2020
  1. Thom Rossa

    Whiile I am really sympathetic with the DACA residents, I fear there are many unitended consequences..

    If you allow DACA people to be admitted, then how do you refuse admission to people from other states WHO are NOT residents and from other Countries

    1. Javier

      I strongly support this change of law in the Utah Supreme Court rules. All DACA recipients are required to be law-abiding and undergo numerous background checks when renewing their status. They are lawfully present in the U.S., have federal social security numbers, and are required to follow all laws a U.S. Citizen would follow.

  2. Peter M Corroon

    I am supportive of this new rule to allow DACA individuals be admitted to the Utah State Bar. If individuals have met the requirements to be admitted, we should allow them to become Utah attorneys.

  3. Ken Johnson

    Are the briefs submitted to the Utah Supreme Court available for members of the Bar and the public to review? Is there a recording of the presentations made to the Utah Supreme Court?

  4. P. Malen

    1.The proposed rule fails to define what is meant by an ‘undocumented immigrant.’ In the interest of avoiding confusion, that should be clarified.

    2. It makes little sense to admit petitioners – who cannot provide verification that they are legally present in the US – to practice law in a legal system whose requirements they themselves, admittedly, fail to meet. It seems contradictory that a person who has failed to meet the legal requirements for presence in the US would now, under the new rule, nonetheless be instructing others and providing advice in the law. If the law is to mean something, conformance with it should be required. For this reason, the proposed rule 14-721 should not be adopted.

  5. Dennis M. Astill

    I strongly disagree with this rule change. I am sympathetic with the problems we are facing with undocumented immigrants, but in any other context, these people are here illegally. While the federal government has created this challenge and crisis, Utah should not change it’s rules or standards to ignore what is in fact illegal behavior. There are ways and means to become a legal immigrant, however difficult it may be. It is short-sighted. It is not just the illegal immigrant status. But to be here and work and conduct business illegally means this person has broken federal laws in regard to social security numbers, tax reporting and other true crimes. If a naturalized citizen was to do the same, they would face years in prison. We can’t ignore the other crimes committed under these circumstances. They cannot meet the other standards required to be admitted to the Bar.

    1. James L

      This new rule applies to DACA recipients. They have social security numbers as well as employment authorization. They have to report their taxes to maintain the status. Not sure where you get the “broken federal laws in regard to social security numbers, tax reporting and other true crimes.”

    2. Marissa Martin

      I have to disagree. Being undocumented does not necessarily mean that a person has broken federal laws in regard to work and social security numbers. It is possible to work with registered Tax ID number or to work for an employer who does not require a social security number. Also, this rule is likely with young professionals and recent graduates who have not had a chance to pursue a professional career yet. If there were a plausible way for these hardworking law school graduates who were not fortunate enough to be born within US boundaries to comply with federal laws, I’m confident they would do so.

    3. Brooke Gledhill Wood

      I strongly support the adoption of this rule for the following reasons:

      1. DACA recipients who have successfully been admitted and graduated from law school are highly skilled individuals who should be welcomed with open arms to meaningfully contribute to the Utah legal system and economy.

      2. Utah is a leader in demonstrating positive views on refugee acceptance, and we should step up on immigration issues. Our state residents are increasingly diverse, and accepting diverse DACA recipients as members of the bar will increase access to justice for diverse communities.

      3. The current policy is to handle DACA bar applicants on a case by case basis, and this rule would introduce predictability and stability into the lives of hard working DACA recipients.

      I also would support this rule being expanded to include applicants with Temporary Protection Status.

  6. Matt Robar

    I vehemently oppose this rule. If immigrants cannot establish that they are legally present in this country then they should not be allowed to practice law in this country. It is ludicrous to allow someone to practice law when they are, by definition, currently and openly committing a criminal act. If the rule of law has any meaning whatsoever this rule cannot pass.

  7. Stephen Horvat

    I think this is a great idea and support it 100%.

    I would request that the Court and Council go farther, and offer admission to all undocumented immigrants regardless of deferred action status (assuming the applicant satisfies the other background / character requirements for admission). Crossing a national border to make a better life for one’s self or family is not a mark of bad character. Rather, it demonstrates drive and commitment, qualities we should look for in our legal community.

  8. Nicholle Pitt White

    I am an immigration attorney in Utah, and I fully support this amendment to the rules. While the future of DACA may be uncertain, these attorneys are lawfully present in the United States at this time, and they should not be kept from the practice of law if they are otherwise eligible.

  9. T J Tsakalos

    When they take the oath, do they affirm to defend our federal and state constitutions or do they advocate for China, Russia, Mexico…? What traitors came up with this insanity? They should be disbarred. No wonder the public makes jokes about the profession.

  10. Warren L. Barnes

    I believe individuals that meet all requirements of Utah State Bar admittance, save for being without proper residence/citizenship documentation due to being brought or sent to the U.S. as a minor, should be admitted to the Bar without restriction. I extend an anticipated, “Welcome the Bar!” to the young ladies responsible for spurring this rule change.


    UT Bar #11379

  11. Clifford L Randle

    Why in the world would we allow these kids, who for all intents and purposes are Utah kids, to attend Utah public schools at no cost, state Universities at resident prices and then prevent them from using the skills they’ve acquired here in Utah? For me this is a real “no-brainer” as they say.

  12. Mark Morris

    Because the nature of “deferred action status” is indeterminate, particularly as to its longevity, is there any provision for what happens to admittees under this Rule whose status is changed from “deferred action” to “deportable” or some other classification that makes their continued presence here illegal? It would be helpful to have the Rule reflect the consequences, if any, by reason of a change in classification. It would certainly avoid uncertainty.

  13. J. Bogart

    I suggest inserting a comma immediately after the phrase “case by case basis,” which would improve clarity,

  14. Audrey Martinez

    Absolutely! Please allow them to take the bar and practice law. It will allow them to be role models and examples. They will make our state proud. Please and thank you.

  15. Dan Erickson

    As those classified as DACA designees have been granted exceptions to their undocumented resident status by local and federal governments, it only seems right that these wonderful contributing members of society should no longer be barred from serving our communities with their hard-earned degree. They have been absolved from legal ramifications associated with their undocumented status, and in many cases are far more willing to be live legally and judiciously than other more careless citizens. They are fully deserving of this distinction and we are fully deserving of their service.

  16. Shelly Stewart

    It is my opinion that anyone wishing to obtain a license to practice law in the state of Utah, or any U.S. state, should require that the individual FIRST be a legal, documented citizen of that state. If a person is not legally a citizen of the U.S., then the rights given to those who are legal U.S. citizens do not apply. An immigrant must be legally documented to receive benefits and opportunities afforded to those who have completed the requirements of citizenship.

  17. Joe Gonzales

    I think this would be a phenomenal opportunity for the Dreamers and for Utah, this country was built because of immigrants and the dreams they had to be better and to have more.

  18. Muneer

    The population in Utah has increased as people from diverse backgrounds arrived here. To be inclusive and encourage the growth and development in the community, we should not only support but also advocate for inclusivity and change.

  19. Michael Jensen

    I oppose the proposed rule simply on the basis that if an individual has not taken the necessary steps to be a legal immigrant, the individual should not be in a position to advise others on respecting our laws. A license to practice law should be held to a very high standard. lowering the bar to allow “undocumented immigrants who cannot establish that they are legally present” does not enhance the reputation of lawyers nor uphold the high standards our profession demands.

  20. Emmylou Manwill

    Dear Utah Supreme Court,

    I appreciate the opportunity to provide commentary on the proposed Rule Governing the Utah State Bar, Supreme Court Rules of Professional Practice regarding the “Admission of undocumented immigrants” (CJA14-0721). As a third-year law student and future attorney who was born and raised in the great State of Utah, I fully support this rule as proposed: the Utah State Bar should allow eligible undocumented immigrants with deferred action status to apply for and become members. I have studied and learned alongside undocumented students in school, college, and law school—they are no less deserving of the honor of applying for and taking the bar than I am.

    Furthermore, in meeting all other bar eligibility requirements for the Utah State Bar, these members of our community have shown themselves to productive, passionate, and upstanding members of our community who deserve to work to the highest of their abilities. Undocumented status does not inhibit their ability to uphold the laws of the state of Utah and this country and to swear to faithfully to do so. This is evidenced by the fact that many of these undocumented law graduates have joined the bar in other states, like California.

    It is disappointing that the current rules do not allow people who have been raised, educated, and worked in this country as community members to take the Utah State Bar exam, while they simultaneously allow foreign citizens with lawful status to practice law. While the status of DACA as a federal policy itself is unknown, deferred action is enshrined within US immigration laws and is not likely to be eradicated any time soon. I urge the Utah Supreme Court to adopt the rule as written, and allow eligible undocumented immigrants with deferred action status to apply for and become members of the Utah State Bar.

    Thank you.

  21. Leslie Cepeda

    Please allow DACA to take the bar exam and practice law. I work with college students from all backgrounds. Thus, I work with students with diverse immigration backgrounds including DACA recipients. I attest these students are working really hard to complete their degrees even though many do not have many financial opportunities available to them in higher education due to their immigration status. Thus, many undocumented students (with or without DACA) work many part-time jobs to achieve their goals to obtain a law degree and become a lawyer.
    If anything I would add to the changes to allow everyone who has completed their law education regardless to their immigration status to take the bar exam and practice law.
    But, for now supporting DACA recipients to be allowed to take the bar exam and practice law in Utah is an amazing opportunity that will help not only the immigrant community in Utah, but everyone in the state. Thank you.

  22. Ann Engar

    I have taught DACA students at the University of Utah for over a decade. They have been educated through the Utah public school system, attended our colleges and law schools, and now desire to serve our community. They are outstanding, well qualified young people. This is the only country they know. Please adopt the proposed Rule Governing the State Bar Supreme Court Rules of Professional Practice regarding the “Admission of Undocumented Immigrants.”

  23. Yunuen T.

    As a fully undocumented California attorney I believe this rule does not go far enough.

    There are many worthy, ethical, capable undocumented students who do not have DACA or Dreamer status. Some of the worthy candidates that this would not apply to include the following: 1) those younger students who couldn’t apply before the program was rescinded, 2) those who aged out, 3) those who came to this country as minors but not young enough to meet the arbitrary threshold age to qualify for DACA, and 4) those who did not come as minors but are model persons and meet all other requirements for admission. In addition, since the DACA program is in such an uncertain condition, depending on next year’s Supreme Court decision, current DACA-holders might lose their status as well and that would render this new rule practically null.

    This rule does not go far enough and the Utah Bar will miss out on great potential attorneys by limiting this rule to admit only people who are DACA-mented. All Undocumented law students who meet all of your other requirements to be admitted into practice, including all the other aspects of the Moral Character determination, should be admitted into the practice of law.

  24. Allen F. Thomason

    Why would we be allowing undocumented individuals to join the Utah State Bar? If the individual is undocumented doesn’t that mean they have not gone through the legal process to be in Utah and the United States legally? Wouldn’t that be the first place to start. Get them fully documented and then allow them admittance to the Bar?

  25. Dan Z.

    As a licensed attorney, i support this rule change to allow these hard working kids, many of whom enhance known no county but this, to be eligible to be admitted to practice law once all the other requirements have been met.

  26. Celina Milner

    I 100% agree with this proposed new rule and whole-heartedly encourage the Utah Supreme Court to pass this new rule allowing DACA recipients admission to the Utah State Bar.
    Since DACA recipients are already permitted to attend college and law school here in Utah, this rule will allow them to take the next natural and professional step to become members of the Utah Bar.
    This rule will allow the petitioners and other DACA recipients to realize the professional aspirations they have pursued for many years.
    Utah would be joining other states like Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, and Pennsylvania in allowing DACA recipients to join the bar.
    DACA recipients and Dreamers are part of the fabric of our community. DACA is an integral part of the American Dream and allowing DACA recipients to fulfill their professional passion by allowing admission to the Utah State Bar is inspiring.

  27. Jean Hill

    The Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City commends the Utah Supreme Court for proposing this rule change. DACA recipients did not choose to enter the country without documentation. They were too young to be accomplices to the decisions of their parents and bear no culpability for their immigration status. Until a court of competent jurisdiction rules that the DACA program is illegitimate, justice demands that a student who has completed all of the rigorous requirements for admission to the Utah State Bar be eligible to practice law in our state. This rule is the morally just outcome of our decision as a state to welcome the stranger who, due to our antiquated and unwieldy immigration system, lacks citizenship and has no reasonable path to citizenship but has contributed to our communities through their hard work and dedication, as evidenced by their ability to succeed in law school and pass the bar exam. Recognition of the dignity of every person demands that we allow applicants who have the knowledge, skills and character to qualify for the bar to move forward on their path to employment

  28. Aden Batar

    As the Director of Migration and Refugee Services for Catholic Community Services of Utah, I fully support that anyone regardless of their Immigration status to be allowed to join the Utah Bar. I have worked with thousands of Immigrants for the past twenty five years and I have seen their great contribution to our community. These individuals have worked so hard to complete law school and want to serve the community. It would be a shame if we don’t give them the opportunity to serve. Without any reservation, I fully support this new rule change that will allow certain undocumented immigrants with deferred action status to be eligible for admission to the Utah Bar.

    Thank you.

  29. Robert Wood

    It would seem to inherently unfair to a DACA individual to have been encouraged by the US government’s policy to indefinitely defer action on their illegal status (a status that is not a consequence, in most cases, of their own actions) to seek education and productivity here in the US. The applicants under consideration in this rule change have undertaken the rigorous education required to graduate from law school and pass the bar exam. Surely, they should be granted the right to put their education to productive use by admission to the Utah Bar. To not do so would be harshly punishing hard-working individuals whose designation as “illegal” has come through no fault of their own.

  30. Brandy Farmer

    I wholeheartedly support DACA recipients to be allowed to apply to the Utah State Bar. Many of them did not know, nor even understand what it meant to be that they were undocumented when they entered the United States. Therefore, they cannot possibly have the intention to violate the Immigration laws. Those who have worked hard to earn their high school diplomas and college degrees, and become productive members of our society deserve to be able to legally practice law by applying to the Utah State Bar and passing the Bar.

  31. Matthew Weinstein

    I write in support of the proposed rule change to allow admission to the Utah Bar of individuals covered under the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

    It would be a terrible loss of talent for Utah to see these individuals leave our state and relocate elsewhere in order to practice the profession for which they have trained. It would also amount to a loss of public investment dollars for those law school graduates who received their degrees at the University of Utah SJ Quinney College of Law, where their legal education is financed in part by Utah tax dollars.

    According to media reports, this rule change is supported by the American Bar Association and has already been implemented in Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, and Pennsylvania. Utah should join these states by implementing this proposed change.

  32. Ciriac Alvarez

    I fully support this rule that would allow Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients admission to the Utah Bar. These law school graduates have a legal workers permit that grants them the right to work. They have gone through the necessary steps and training to become attorneys and should be allowed admission into the Utah Bar and be allowed to work the job they trained and were educated to do.

    It is a loss if they are unable to work as attorneys after years of training and education in our Utah law schools especially. While it is understood that DACA is not a permanent solution, it is the program that these Utahns are using to work, go to school, make our communities better, and should be used to practice law after receiving admission to the Utah Bar.

  33. Jenny Wilson

    I am very supportive of this rule and would like to see those who make the sacrifice to graduate from law school to be able to successfully be admitted to the Bar, regardless of their status. Being a recipient of DACA benefits should not preclude anyone from learning and sharing in the possibility of becoming a professional in our State.

  34. Paul Kuttner

    Thank you for the opportunity to offer input on this new rule. As noted in the document shared, the rule is in line with the laws of Utah and the United States. It is also in line with Utah’s values of welcoming newcomers, supporting families, and rewarding hard work.

    I have the honor of working with many college and graduate students who have DACA status or are otherwise undocumented. There is no doubt in my mind that these students — who are completing all the necessary education, jumping through all the hoops, and adopting this country as their own — will be valuable members of their professions. Moreover, we need their voices and perspectives in the legal profession. Perhaps they can even help us fix our immigration laws so that we don’t continue to lose out on so many valuable members of our communities, schools, offices, and professions.

  35. David Reymann

    I write in strong support of the proposed rule change. DACA recipients who have met every other qualification for bar membership should not be forced to leave the state just to practice their chosen profession. Our community at large, and our legal community in particular, is enriched by admitting them to our ranks. I am proud to be a member of a bar that has extended a welcoming hand to them.

  36. Mayor Jenny Wilson

    Salt Lake County residents with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status should be afforded equal opportunities to maximize their full potential, including participation in the rigorous requirements for admission to the Utah State Bar.

    I strongly support the Utah Supreme Court‘s proposal to allow DACA recipients who have passed the bar examination to be admitted to the Utah State Bar.

  37. Sophia Hawes-Tingey

    I stand in support of this rule. By allowing people who are citizens in all but name, who have worked and sacrified, and lived here practically their entire life since they were children–if they have shown the dedication to be able to pass the bar exam, it is only fair that they be allowed to practice law in Utah, Furthermore, this can go a long way toward bringing justice for many of our undocumented immigrants. These people deserve citizenship; but moreover, they’ve earned the right to practice law.

  38. Luis Banos

    I whole heartedly support this rule change to allow DACA recipients to have the ability to serve their communities and their state in practicing what they have worked so hard to achieve. They have done all they they have been asked of and have stood heads up dispite their unfortunate situation; that they had no control over. I support this rule change and I am happy that we are considering it.

  39. Sale Lake City Human Rights Commission

    The Salt Lake City Human Rights Commission supports DACA recipients who meet admission criteria to be admitted to the Utah State Bar. Basic human rights include, among others, the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. These basic human rights have been recognized by our country’s founders in the Declaration of Independence. The United States Supreme Court, in multiple decisions, has recognized these rights and interpreted these rights to include an individual’s right to work. To deny a DACA recipient, who is otherwise qualified, the ability to be admitted to the practice of law in the State of Utah would be the denial of a basic human right. DACA represents the best of what America has to offer, and DREAMers the embodiment of American hope for a brighter future. Our community will only be improved by allowing qualified individuals who are committed to the law, have lived in the United States since childhood, and have established a life in Utah to pursue a career in the legal profession. We proudly stand with our DREAMer neighbors, friends, and colleagues in their personal pursuits of the basic rights we all hold so dear.

  40. Kathryn Lindquist

    I totally support allowing DACA recipients to be admitted to the state bar, as they have passed the educational and other requirements.

  41. Mayor Erin Mendenhall

    As the Mayor of Salt Lake City, I strongly support this new rule that would allow law school graduates with DACA status to be eligible for admission to the Utah State Bar.

    According to the Center for American Progress, most DACA recipients arrived in this country at 7 years old and have lived here for 20 years. More than a third arrived before they were 5 years old. They are our classmates, our coworkers, our neighbors, and our friends. They know no other country as home. This is their home.

    The women who brought this case forward are among those who have attended our public schools and subsequent Utah Law schools. Allowing the petitioners and other DACA recipients to realize the professional aspirations they have pursued for many years would be the logical progression in their careers.

    In Utah, we are already educating our state’s DACA recipients – known as ‘DREAMers’ – and paving the way for their professional success. By giving them access to apply for the Utah State Bar, the new rule helps those individuals – as well as our communities – benefit from those investments.

    DACA recipients contribute significant federal, state, and local tax revenues that provide important benefits to millions of Americans. As said by ACLU staff attorney Spencer Amdur, during an 2019 interview with KUER. “They pay taxes and they live exemplary lives. And so, what we’re arguing is that there is no good reason to prevent them from practicing their profession in Utah.”

    Several other states have recognized the value of permitting that all qualified residents can access the Bar and have made similar changes. As Mayor, I support Utah’s decision to join California, Florida, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, and Pennsylvania, all of which allow their state’s DREAMers to practice law. In 2017, the American Bar Association also adopted a resolution supporting “the principle that bar admission should not be denied based solely on immigration status.”

    Proposed rule 14-0721 is a win-win for our community. I commend the Utah Supreme Court for this proposed change and know that all Salt Lake City residents will reap its benefits.

  42. Michael

    In regards to CJA14-0721 the Rule Governing the Utah State Bar, Supreme Court Rules of Professional Practice. I think this rule change is beneficial to communities all over the state of Utah. It is a major step forward in striving for a society that is more inclusive. I fully support this rule change to allow someone with DACA, who has meet all other requirements, be admitted to sit for the Utah Bar.

  43. Julio Marchena

    Someone wrote:

    I am supportive of this new rule to allow DACA individuals be admitted to the Utah State Bar. If individuals have met the requirements to be admitted, we should allow them to become Utah attorneys.

    And they worded it perfectly. I second their comment and support the ruling to allow DACA recipients to be admitted to the Utah State Bar.

    This state/country was founded by hard working individuals wanting a better life for their families; DACA folks are no different.

  44. Kristy Black

    I give my full support to allowing DACA recipients to allow to take the bar. They are allowed to in a few other states & Utah should lead the way with this & further welcome highly qualified individuals Who have put in the work to go to law school. Our local legal community will be better for having DACA recipients in their ranks

  45. Hannah Leavitt-Howell

    I agree with the Supreme Court’s ruling. DACA (and TPS) individuals should be able to take the bar.

  46. Jaz T.

    This will encourage diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. DACA recipients should definitely be admitted to the bar if they have met all other requirements!

  47. A. Navarro

    This rule represents a positive step to provide people who have relied on an executive order to pursue higher education. This is a strong and solid move in the right direction as DACA recipients have worked their hardest by enrolling in a school of higher learning and spending seven years to help others. It could be argued that this is an unfair or illegal act, but this originally came from the federal executive and would undermine the very essence of American politics.

  48. Emily Lowder

    I strongly support this new rule and believe DACA students and TPS students should be allowed to sit for the bar.
    These students are highly qualified individuals – the exact type of which Utah and the US in general seek for migration. It wouldn’t make sense to deny the bar to individuals who are qualified and highly skilled and who can contribute to Utah’s economy. It would also be inherently unfair for Utah to deny these students the option of sitting for the bar when they went to law school expecting to be able to practice and become an attorney. It is a huge investment of time and money on their part and it would be wrong to make light of their efforts. These students share American and Utahn values and clearly admire the rule of law if they chose law as a career. We need them in our legal system.
    Utah should pioneer these efforts and allow DACA and TPS students to sit for the bar.

  49. Christian Sonderegger

    I support this proposed change. In the spirit of fair notice and reasonable reliance, it is a logical step for DACA recipients to know they can sit for the bar before entering law school. This is a highly-skilled group of individuals who should have the chance to demonstrate their legal competence. The Utah State Bar has made legal accessibility a priority over the past several years, and this proposed change directly and materially furthers that policy objective. This is a change that will certainly benefit the State, both economically and as a policy matter.

  50. Nicole N.

    DACA recipients should be admitted to the bar. The law should also include temporary protection status.

  51. America Andrade

    I give my full support to this rule change. This is a LONG overdue change that needs to happen. As an inclusive state, this year the governor has asked for more refugees to be brought to the state. The state itself is a state full of pioneers who traveled cross-country to be able to live freely and confidently in their own state. This rule change would uphold the Utah values that we have claimed to have for years.
    These students have worked incredibly hard for years to be able to become attorney’s, and make their dreams come true. allowing them to work in their field is a no-brainer. We live in a country of opportunity, these student’s are not criminals, they are not trying to benefit from the country without giving back, They are attempting to be working citizens who give back and serve their community. I am a law student at BYU and I know I speak for a lot of the students here when I say that we would welcome the change. I am in full support of this rule change and hope Utah can become a leader in the country by being one of the first to allow DACA attorneys to practice in Utah. I hope that we can show the rest of the country what amazing things these students are capable of!

  52. Craig

    I support this resolution to allow DACA recipients to take the bar. The state needs more qualified candidates with diverse perspectives. Utah is far behind in diversity in the legal profession and it is a common complaint from businesses contemplating moving to Utah. The lack of diversity is not good for economic growth in a global economy. Time to move Utah into the future. Remember it is legal to seek asylum and the immigration system is broken. We can take this small step in the right direction to help fix the system.

  53. Dominic Shaw

    I am in support of this rule. I believe that all DACA and Temporary Protection Status law students and graduates should have the ability to sit for the bar. There are numerous reasons why individuals immigrate, few of which (if any) call into question that person’s character or ability to competently perform as an attorney. Thus, these students should not be penalized for the personal decisions (or the personal decisions of their parents) that brought them here to Utah and to law school.

    If these students have a protected status and/or work authorization, I don’t feel that the bar should create any extra barriers for keeping these diligent students out of the law. These students already must apply to law school, be admitted, graduate, and pass the bar exam. A system in which they might be denied because of their immigration status seems unfair given the work that the students are putting in to develop skills which will allow them to positively contribute to the state.

  54. Jessica Volmar

    I am in strong support of adoption of this rule. These DACA students and graduates have worked to be admitted into law school and complete their legal degree in order to be as academically qualified as any other law graduate to practice the law. These qualified individuals deserve reasonable reliance on their ability to practice within their chosen career path in the location where they have built their life. These individuals should not be denied stability for their future careers because of inherent qualities that have no relationship with their capability to successfully practice law. Additionally, ensuring DACA graduates can sit for the Utah Bar and effectively contribute to the legal practice in the state of Utah promotes diversity and inclusivity.

    I would recommend that this rule be amended to include those with Temporary Protection Status (TPS) be guaranteed the option to sit for the Utah Bar to ensure that all those who are qualified may take this important career opportunity.

  55. Marissa Martin

    I can’t imagine anyone more deserving of being admitted to the Utah Bar than a student whose parents, inspired by the American Dream, made sacrifices to give their children a life in the United States, and then excelled in the education system enough to graduate from law school, which requires comprehensive study of the Constitution, legal systems, ethics, and laws. Utah will benefit from allowing these motivated graduates to achieve their goals and contribute their experience and knowledge in the legal field. The only characteristic setting DACA recipients apart from other law school graduates is their lack of pathway to citizenship according to current immigration law. Location of birth is no reason to discriminate against them, as with race, color, or religion. They have lived their lives here, and they have worked hard for this. Let’s not shoot them down. That’s not what America is about.

  56. Kelsey Palma

    I agree that DACA recipients should be allowed to take the Utah State Bar. I am a current law student interested in practicing immigration law. This would give Utah an opportunity to be a leader on this issue and would give prosepctive law students reasonable reliance that if they go through law school they will be able to take the bar. I don’t see how it is fair for someone that meets all of the requirements would not be allowed the opportunity to become a barred lawyer for circumstances out of their control. Utah is known for its pioneer heritage and their acceptance and inclusion of diverse populations. I also think that this should include TPS individuals as well. It is not the fault of DACA and TPS individuals that their futures are up in the air. If they have a love for learning the law and a desire to practice it then they should be given the chance to do so and to become highly skilled individuals in an area that interests them.

  57. Carissa Uresk

    I support the Utah Supreme Court’s proposal to allow individuals with DACA status to be eligible for admission to the Utah State Bar. As a law student, I think it is unfair that one of my classmates could take the same steps as me yet not be admitted because of something that is out of their control and does not affect their ability to practice law.

    Law school graduates with DACA status are not criminals; they are hard-working individuals who deserve to be admitted to the Bar if they can meet the other requirements.

  58. Haley

    I support this rule that undocumented immigrants should be eligible for admission to the Utah bar. Although it might refer to DACA, I believe other groups, especially TPS, should be included in this classification. Many of these people came here as young children or due to extenuating circumstances in their country. These people should not be punished because of other’s choices. This rule would help move immigration policies in the right direction.

    We should allow these future lawyers access to the legal system. These lawyers can use their skills to help create better immigration policies for the future. As a multicultural country, we should value this added diversity to our state. Diversity makes us stronger. Anyone who says otherwise is listening to alternative facts. If you oppose this, it boils down to racism.

  59. Kristen Olsen

    I lend my full support to this proposed new rule. While in law school, I met a fellow law student who was a DACA recipient. She was crushed when she learned during her 2L year that she would not be able to sit for the Utah Bar because of a choice her parents made when she was younger. I have no doubt she will be an excellent addition to the Utah Bar, and I sincerely hope she gets the opportunity to practice here soon.

    1. Sophia Ledesma

      I support allowing DACA recipients to take the bar. I don’t see how it is fair for someone that went to school and be told they cannot practice or do something they are so passionate have their dream crushed and be told there is not a chance. I would love to be able to see that utah was one of the first to make a change.

  60. Miranda Hatch

    I support completely that DACA recipients should be able to allowed to take the bar. Utah should be a leader in this area and show that they support law students that have worked extremely hard for their degree. DACA is a legal status and these people deserve to practice law just as much as anyone else.

  61. Preston

    I emphatically support the rule that DACA recipients be admitted to the state bar. Utah has a long and proud history of inviting highly skilled workers and providing fair and equal treatment to all people complying with the law. DACA recipients have reasonably relied on an executive order-created law, and thus should be entitled to the benefits normally afforded to those who have reasonably relied on a quasi-legal principle.

  62. Aaron Stinson

    Some who have concerns about this rule believe that Utah would be condoning illegal actions by making this rule. However, the predicament that DACA recipients, and others like them, find themselves in is not one of their own making. They are not the ones who broke the law. It is also a popular sentiment that the immigration system is broken, which is true in many ways. Additionally, the federal government has acknowledged that they are not the ones to blame by granting DACA recipients a legal status. It can arguably be placed on their parents and/or the government, either way it is not their own fault. On top of all of this, they have worked extremely hard and committed large sums of money and years of their lives to get themselves through law school. They are clearly committed to being productive citizens and want to contribute to their communities. I strongly support this new rule.

  63. Brandon Graves

    I wholeheartedly support this rule to allow DACA recipients to take the bar and practice law. While it is commendable, it is also rational – These are admirable members of Utah communities who uphold all of the same values as native-born citizens, work to make their communities better places, and have, through discipline and perseverance, pushed through the rigors of schooling and would otherwise be able to make the next logical step into a profession they are very much qualified for.

    However, in my opinion, the rule should also allow those here legally on TPS to be able to take advantage of the privileges provided by this rule, provided they meet the standard requirements for character and fitness.

  64. Jonathan Eaton

    I support allowing DACA recipients to take the bar. They’ve been to law school and are legal residents, so I see no reason to prohibit them from becoming an attorney in Utah. Additionally, other immigration programs like TPS would benefit from being added in to the ruling.

  65. Megan

    Since the vast majority of US Citizens’ ancestors are immigrants, I was surprised to learn this isn’t already in place. DACA recipients should absolutely be allowed to take the bar.

  66. Jason

    Yes. If they meet all other requirements, they should be eligible for the bar just like anyone else.

  67. laura chamorro

    Completely support passing this.
    DACA students are here working legally and going to school, working harder at times than citizens. How do you get through law school, knowing you won’t be able to work in your own state? That says a lot about their character.
    I believe this is positive for our state. Please allow these hard working students to take the bar!

  68. George Macey

    I am in support of allowing people with DACA taking the bar exam if they have met all the educational and professional licensure requirements.

  69. Luz María Sanchez

    Undocumented immigrants with deferred action status specifically refers to those individuals whom entered the country before their 16th birthday. These children were brought to the U.S. unknowingly by their parents, some of whom were infants at the time of their arrival. It is very easy to blame these individuals of wrongdoing, breaking the law, and not abiding by the immigration laws and processes in place. These individuals had to meet specific criteria to qualify for deferred action status. Specifically, having completed high school; have no felonies and/or significant misdemeanors; nor pose a threat to national security or public safety as defined by the Unites States Citizenship and Immigration System. These are individuals who have made the most of the deferred action status given to them and have navigated and excelled through all the proper channels to make it thus far into their education/career goals. These are individuals that have lived in the shadows because of an impulsive error their parents made, at the moment putting their families and the future of their children before their safety and not taking into account the ramifications of their actions. The future of DACA recipients should not be shattered because of their parents actions. These individuals have put in the work required to make them qualified applicants of the state bar.

  70. Gabby Z.

    I support the Utah Supreme Court’s proposal to allow individuals with DACA status to be eligible for admission to the Utah State Bar.

  71. Laura Kessler

    I support this rule change. Since DACA recipients are already permitted to attend college and law school in Utah, this rule will allow them to take the next natural and professional step to become members of the Utah Bar. DACA recipients who meet the requirements for bar admission should be allowed to achieve the professional aspirations they have pursued for many years. Utah would be joining other states like Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, and Pennsylvania in allowing DACA recipients to join the bar. The American Bar Association supports “the principle that bar admission should not be denied based solely on immigration status.”

  72. Erin L. Castro

    I strongly support allowing individuals with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status to take the Bar and practice law in the state of Utah. The American Bar Association also supports this decision. Admission to the bar should not be denied based solely on immigration status.

  73. Leslie Francis Bar # 3930

    I would like to add my voice to those in support of the proposed rule to allow otherwise qualified DACA recipients and others with deferred status to become members of the Utah State Bar. The petitioners are in all other respects qualified to practice law and will be responsible contributors to the delivery of legal services in Utah.

  74. Jen

    I support this because DACA recipients currently have no way of obtaining citizenship or US residency. Most of them only qualify for a green card if they get married to a US citizenship, which is unfortunate. If they are willing to go to law school and work hard for it then they should be able to take the bar exam.

  75. Katie Rane

    Since the state’s founding, Utah has welcomed individuals from different countries, different socioeconomic backgrounds, different religions, and different cultures. This rule builds on Utah’s welcoming heritage. It’s a chance for Utah to lead out in welcoming immigrants and refugees, as the governor has indicated the state is willing to do.
    This is also a chance for Utah to be at the forefront in extending access to justice to individuals who are often excluded from the liberty and justice promised to individuals in the United States. Not only does this rule extend justice to individuals with DACA status, it also extends justice to the individuals they will represent as attorneys.
    DACA recipients should not be precluded from pursuing a profession because of a decision their parents made. Keeping DACA recipients out of the legal field would stifle diversity, weaken the economy, and unfairly treat highly-qualified, hard-working individuals who only seek to uphold the laws of this state and nation.
    While I support this rule, it should be amended to include other individuals. Immigration status does not factor into the requirements to be a good lawyer. Any issues about legal violations involved with immigration status can be taken care of through the character and fitness portion of the bar application, which takes care of all other illegal activity a bar applicant may have committed. All individuals (but especially TPS recipients, who are in the same situation as DACA students with regards to legal status) who have graduated from an accredited law school should be allowed to apply to the bar, no matter their immigration status.

  76. Kate Conyers

    As a member of the Utah State Bar, I am incredibly in favor of this amendment and thank all of those who were instrumental in proposing the rule.

  77. Calli Baker

    This is a MUST. It’s incredible that in 2020 we are still in a place where this is even an issue. We are so much better than this. Dreamers are us. They are our community. They are our brothers and sisters and friends and neighbors and co-workers. People we love and appreciate! They are people who are are incredibly hard working and are vital members of our community. There shouldn’t be a dispute as to whether or not someone can practice law after going through the rigors to do just that, simply because that person has DACA. We need these people in our community and they deserve to be doing what they have worked so hard to do. They have accomplished the same goals as everyone else and are being held behind the finish line. Let’s bring them past the line so we can all win!

  78. Maria Estrada

    DACA recipients have legal status! Furthermore, they are dedicated members of our community that have worked hard and want to be of service. Now, let’s not forget that throughout history immigration laws have been changed to accommodate actual circumstances. It was only in 1965 that the US decided to put a limit to the number of Mexicans who could come to the US. Before that, Mexican immigrants moved freely across the border. The laws can be changed again to validate that these outstanding members of our community are indeed part of our ‘we’.

  79. Emilie Stiles

    DACA recipients are just as American as you and I. They entered this country, not of their own volition, and have built their lives here. DACA recipients should be given the same opportunities to pursue their dreams and help shape policy in the country and states in which they live. They have committed tremendous time, energy, and resources to completing their legal education and should therefore be entitled to be admitted to the bar.

  80. Nikele S

    I support allowing DACA individuals be admitted to the Utah State Bar. If they have met the requirements to be admitted, we should allow them to sit for the exam.

  81. Nefi Oliva

    I am strongly in favor of the adoption of this rule. The Utah Supreme Court is setting a great example for other states to follow. These individuals have shown that they are qualified to sit for the bar and have met every other requirement. Additionally, these individuals have shown that they are determined to succeed in spite of the unique challenges which being a DACA recipient and an immigrant bring. For example, DACA recipients are not eligible for federal student aid. Additionally, many scholarships require US citizenship. Thus, many of these individuals find it especially hard to fund their undergraduate and law education. On a similar note, many of these individuals are first generation college students and the first lawyers in their families. Therefore, these individuals often have to navigate their educations with less guidance than their peers.

    DACA recipients have also had to face great uncertainty due to their immigration status since there is no way to know whether the DACA program will be renewed. They are well aware that if the program ends, they will have to make a difficult decision as to whether stay in the US, which is their home, without a legal status, or move to a country that they have few connections with.

    However, instead of letting these challenges slow them down, these individuals have thrived. They have successfully applied to, paid for, and graduated from law schools across the country. Additionally, they have studied for and are prepared to take the bar. If Utah does not allow these highly qualified individuals to practice within the state, then other states will reap the benefits that these individuals and future attorneys provide.

    These individuals will also bring diversity that is needed in the Utah Bar. Their unique experiences will help them connect with the individuals they are serving and help them find creative solutions to their client’s problems. Additionally, having a more diverse Bar will help Utah to solve current and future issues facing the legal profession.

    This rule will also increase the access that Utah citizens have to legal services by allowing more qualified individuals to be attorneys. Additionally, because of the background and experiences of these individuals, many of them know the importance of pro-bono work first-hand. For example, as an immigrant myself, I saw my parents struggling to find answers to their legal questions. Because of their financial situation, hiring an attorney was often completely out of the question. I also saw that there were many individuals and families in my community which were in the same situation as my parents. I think about these experiences often, and they motivate me, and other immigrants similar to me, to do all we can to give back to our communities.

    Additionally, this rule promotes the American Dream. These individuals have worked hard and deserve the freedom to pursue their chosen career path. They have made the best of their situation and put themselves in a position where they can help others to succeed and prosper, as well as be role models for the future generation.
    All the points made above also apply to individuals under Temporary Protection Status (TPS). The rule should be amended so that it also includes TPS recipients. Many TPS recipients also migrated to the United States when there were children, and a large part of TPS recipients have lived in the United States for decades. These individuals are highly qualified and give back to their communities. Utah has nothing to gain by excluding either DACA or TPS recipients from the practice of law.

  82. Gretchen

    I support allowing DACA recipients to take the bar. DACA recipients have worked hard to get through law school and deserve the right to take the bar. They are legal residents, and should not be prohibited from becoming an attorney in Utah.

  83. Steph Burdick

    DACA recipients should be able to take the bar. DACA was set up to make sure there were appropriate pathways to entering the workforce and allowing them to take the bar aligns with the intent of DACA. DACA recipients, like all our immigrant community members, add so much value to Utah. Please make this simple but important change to improve workforce pathways for this community.

  84. Kelvin Green

    My thought is that if the Utah Supreme Court changes these bar admission rules. Then other antiquated rules must be changed. If it becomes ok for someone without full legal status to argue in front of the Utah Courts, then those Utahns with full legal protections in this country should also be admitted but are not allowed to because of the same type of antiquated rules. There are individuals in this state who attended Non ABA accredited Bar schools and pass tougher bar exams than Utah’s but cannot practice here because of an arbitrary rule. If it is about competence, it is about competence. These lawyers cannot stand in front of a Utah Justice Court and argue a traffic ticket but are admitted to practice in front of the US Supreme Court. Let’s include fundamental fairness in all the rules.

  85. Melissa E

    I am supportive of this rule to allow DACA individuals be admitted to the Utah State Bar. Individuals who have met the proper requirements to be admitted should be able to become Utah attorneys. It is also important to note that other immigration programs like TPS would benefit from being added in to the ruling.

  86. Daniel Loveridge

    Utah should open the bar for these individuals, and it should open it to all legal residents who have studied law. There is no night school option or online education option in the state of Utah for those of us who have families and careers, and yet have higher aspirations.

    California has much more liberal bar admittance standards yet a difficult bar exam – and it is also a leader in legal thought in hundreds of court opinions. Yet it allows not only illegal immigrants to take a turn at the bar, it also allows night school, and online education to qualify as sufficient education.

    Don’t just give illegal immigrants options to live their dreams, give all of us the option to live our dreams.

  87. Karla Motta

    I strongly support DACA recipients to be admitted to the Utah State Bar. They are qualified intelligent individuals that will uphold the governing laws of this state.

  88. Janet Calvo

    RE: Proposed Rule 14-721 “Admission of undocumented immigrants”

    From: Janet M. Calvo, Professor of Law, CUNY School of Law,

    I write to fully support the admission to the bar of the two petitioners who qualify for DACA. I agree that 8 U.S.C. 1621(d) does not prohibit the court from adopting a rule that permits those with DACA (and other non-citizens) to apply for bar admission. However, I suggest modifications to the proposed rule that would result in more clarity and better comport with the realities of immigration law and categories, the realities of law practice and Utah’s education policies. I am a law professor who has been involved with the bar admission of non-citizen graduates from CUNY, has taught Immigration and Citizenship Law for over thirty years, and researched and wrote in related areas including professional licensing for non-citizens.

    The Utah Rule Should Allow the Admission of Non-Citizens Without Regard to Immigration Status or Category

    The American Bar Association adopted a resolution that bar admission should not be denied based solely on immigration status. Utah should join other states such as California and New York, which have bar admission policies that comport with the ABA resolution. The Amicus Briefs submitted by Latino Justice and the Ad Hoc Coalition of Utah Law Professors explains and supports admission without regard to immigration status. I add here that such a rule comports with Utah’s education policy that provides in state tuition eligibility to undocumented students and allows all students access to privately-funded scholarships administered by public universities, regardless of immigration status. Allowing Utah’s residents to gain higher education enhances Utah’s economy. Allowing those who graduate from law school after attending college allows the investment that Utah has made in higher education to stay in, contribute to and enhance Utah’s economy and the Utah bar.

    If Admission Limitations Are Imposed on Non-Citizens, All Non-citizens With Permission to be in the United States, Including those with DACA, OR Who Have Employment Authorization Should Be Eligible for Admission

    The proposed rule requires DACA or other deferred action grounded arrival in the U.S. as a minor AND employment authorization. However, the statement regarding the rule states that the rule allows admission eligibility to those with DACA without the addition of an employment authorization requirement. Even if it is decided to have limitations on non-citizens bar membership these restrictions are onerous, too limiting and do not comport with the realities of attorney practice or the implementation of immigration law. All non-citizens with federal permission to be in the U.S. or who have employment authorization should be eligible for admission.

    A Number of Attorneys Are Solo Practitioners or Partners and Do Not Need or Are Not Eligible For Employment Authorization

    The proposed rule not only requires DACA or other deferred action, it also requires employment authorization. Non-citizens seeking Utah bar membership should not be limited in their practice arrangements. A 2011 survey of members of the Utah State Bar concluded that 25% were Shareholders/Partners and 18% were solo practitioners. Persons who are self-employed do not need and technically are not eligible for employment authorization, as they do not have economic necessity for employment authorization, as they are not employees of an employer.
    Employment authorization is afforded to non-citizens who seek to be employed by others so that their employers will not be subject to sanctions under the employer sanctions law. There is no need or eligibility for employment authorization for those who do not work for others. The U.S. Congress made a deliberate judgment to impose penalties only on employers who hire non-citizens who do not have employment authorization, and not on those who work (even those who work without authorization.) Employers who hire for paid employment in the U.S. an alien without employment authorization are subject to penalties.
    Employment Authorization is one indicia of federal permission to be in the country as the criteria for employment authorization designates categories of non-citizens who are eligible for this authorization. If non-citizens have Employment Authorization they need not demonstrate the underlying category upon which it is based. However, non-citizens with permission to be in the country do not always have or need employment authorization. For these non-citizens other documents can demonstrate their immigration category and sanctioned presence in the country.
    DACA recipients and recipients of permission to be in the U.S. under a number of other immigration categories are eligible for employment authorization. But they have to apply and pay fees for application and renewal. Further, there are current delays in the processing of these applications and further delays are anticipated if proposed rules are implemented.
    Moreover, students who have DACA may not have employment authorization as they have been in school and have had no need or eligibility for employment authorization. (Education related internships without pay and pro bono activities do not require employment authorization.) Even if they plan to be employed by others, holding up a law graduates’ bar membership until they receive employment authorization is not warranted. Many legal employers will not make a commitment to hire without bar admission. Law graduates with bar admission could obtain that commitment while they participate in the employment authorization process and then start their employment when it is granted.

    If Limited, the Utah Rule Should Include Non-Citizens Who Have Permission to Be in the United States as Eligible for Bar Membership

    A number of categories of non-citizens in addition to those with DACA or other deferred action have permission to be in the United States and if otherwise eligible for bar membership should be admitted. The categories of non-citizens with such permission are added to over time by policy, regulation or statute. (For example non-citizens with Temporary Protected Status have permission to be in the United States as do those with T visas (have been trafficked and their families), parole, non- citizens who have been designed as abused under VAWA, the Violence Against Women Act, adjustment applicants (e.g. non-citizens married to U.S. citizens), persons afforded or applying for asylum, withholding, protection under the Convention Against Torture, cancellation, and others) And many non-citizens move through different categories over time. (For example, a non-citizen with no status who marries a U.S. citizen can gain permission to be in the U.S. and employment authorization when she applies for adjustment and when adjustment is granted then becomes a legal permanent resident. Another example is an asylum applicant who can gain permission to be in the country and employment authorization through the application process, then is granted asylee status, then waits a time period before applying for legal permanent residence and then ultimately becomes a permanent resident.) The rule should not limit by specific non-citizen categories and thereby have to be changed if new categories are added or the non-citizen’s category changes over time.

    The Utah Rule Should Use Clearly Defined Terms and Not Terms that are Lay Terms and Terms that Do Not Have a Clear and Consistent Meaning.

    Many terms used to describe non-citizen categories are lay terms with inconsistent meaning do not reflect the legal situation of non-citizens. For example, the title of the rule used the term “undocumented immigrants.” This is a lay term that means different things to different people, often in a legally inaccurate manner. For example, DACAs and others with deferred action are not undocumented as they have documents that indicate their category and their permission to be in the United States and often to be employed in the United States.
    Other terms do not have a clear and consistent meaning. The statement regarding the Utah rule uses the terms legal presence, and legally present. In other contexts, the term lawfully present is used, e.g. in eligibility for the Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP). But these terms do not always mean the same thing in each context and need definition or preferably a simpler more comprehensive term use. For example, the New York Board of Regents affords eligibility for various profession licenses to non-citizens not unlawfully present and specifically states that the term includes those with DACA and other non-citizens who are Permanently Residing in the U.S. Under Color of Law, PRUCOL, a term that has been defined in New York cases and administrative directives.
    As stated above, I urge that the rule follow the ABA recommendation to allow admission of non-citizens without regard to immigration status or category. However, if limitations are to be imposed I suggest the simpler criteria of permission to be in the United States or employment authorized.
    Thank you for the opportunity to comment.

    Support for Assertion

    Janet M. Calvo, Professional Licensing and Teacher Certification for Non-citizens: Federalism, Equal Protection and a State’s Socio-Economic Interests, 8 COLUM. J. RACE L. 33 (2017);; Janet M. Calvo, Protecting the Rights of DACA Recipients as Persons Residing Under Color of Law in New York, 21 CUNY L. Rev. F 1 (2018); .

    See Janet M. Calvo, Professional Licensing and Teacher Certification for Non-citizens: Federalism, Equal Protection and a State’s Socio-Economic Interests, 8 COLUM. J. RACE L. 33 at 85-86 (2017) discussing comments that allowing non-citizens professional licensing contributed to the state’s economy. See also : commenting on contributions to a state’s economy from removal of barriers to higher education.

    Utah State Bar Survey of Members at page 6, (last visited January 23, 2020)

    8 C.F.R. § 274a.1 (f), (h), (j)

    8 U.S.C. § 1324a(a)(1)(A) (2012)

    8 U.S.C. § 1324a(e)(4) (2012); 8 U.S.C. § 1324a(f)(1) (2012)

    8 C.F.R. § 274a.12

    For example,

    Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 (CMS, “Re: Medicaid and CHIP Coverage of ‘Lawfully Residing’ Children and Pregnant Women,” SHO # 10-006, CHIPRA #17, Center for Medicaid, CHIP, and Survey and Certification, July 1, 2010,

    MEMORANDUM FROM DOUGLAS E. LENTIVECH TO PROFESSIONAL PRACTICES COMMITTEE & HIGHER EDUCATION COMMITTEE (May 9, 2016),; Janet M. Calvo, Protecting the Rights of DACA Recipients as Persons Residing Under Color of Law in New York, 21 CUNY L. Rev. F 1 (2018);

  89. Jose Perez

    LatinoJustice PRLDEF (LatinoJustice) submits this letter in strong support of the above referenced proposed new bar admission practice rule which would allow certain undocumented immigrants with deferred action status to be eligible for admission to the Utah Bar.

    LatinoJustice which was founded in 1972 as the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund champions an equitable society. Using the power of the law together with advocacy and education, LatinoJustice protects opportunities for all Latinos to succeed in school and work, fulfill their dreams, and sustain their families and communities. Our work encompasses three guiding principles – protecting civil rights, cultivating Latina/o leaders and increasing civic participation. LatinoJustice through its legal and education litigation and advocacy work has profoundly improved the way Latinos are treated in our society and ensures that all Latinos have more opportunities for political, economic, social and educational equality. Today, we work with an extensive network of community activists, institutional and private sector partners to advocate for Latino rights nationally.

    Expanding the legal pipeline, increasing law school admissions’ opportunities for students of color, and supporting efforts to enhance diversity within the legal profession has been a critical component of LatinoJustice’s work for the past 48 years. In the past decade, I have personally counseled, mentored, supported and represented several Dreamer and dacamented law students who aspire to become practicing attorneys. In February 2014, LatinoJustice joined with the NYU Law School’s Bickel & Brewer Latino Institute for Human Rights to issue a report “Lifting the Bar: Undocumented Law Graduates & Access to Law Licenses” which called upon federal and state policymakers, courts and other bar admission stakeholders to take action and ensure that undocumented law graduates across the country have equal opportunity to be admitted to the bar irrespective of immigration status. Since the issuance of this report, several Dreamer law graduates we have counseled, supported and represented have since been admitted to the bar in New York, Florida, California, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut.

    We have successfully petitioned the Florida Board of Bar Examiners to permit a law student who was born in Honduras and granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and employment authorization to sit for the Florida bar exam and be admitted. LatinoJustice also represented Cesar Vargas, a 2011 CUNY Dreamer law graduate in his successful effort to be admitted to the New York bar. The NYS Supreme Court Appellate Division 2d Judicial Department in Matter of Vargas, 131 AD3d 4, NY June 2015 specifically found that “Vargas’ undocumented immigration status, in and of itself, does not reflect adversely upon his general fitness to practice law.” The court went further and stated, “We find that the undocumented status of an individual applicant does not, alone, suggest that the applicant is not possessed of the qualities that enable attorneys to vigorously defend their client’s interest within the bounds of the law, nor does it suggest that the applicant cannot protect, as an officer of the court, the rule of law and the administration of justice.” The court concluded that “Having satisfied the eligibility standards equally applicable to those similarly situated, and having been so certified by the NYS Board of Law Examiners, we find no rational basis to conclude that Vargas’ status as an undocumented immigrant reflects adversely on his competence to practice law in New York.”

    The unanimous NYS Vargas court decision “found no legal impediment or rational basis for withholding the privilege of practicing law in New York from undocumented immigrants who have been granted DACA relief, and exercised their discretion authorized under section 1621(d) to declare that such persons may be admitted to the practice of law provided they otherwise, each individually, meet the standards for admission by which all candidates for admission to the practice of law are judged.”

    LatinoJustice in February 2019 submitted an amicus brief in support of the underlying petition by Jane & Mary Doe seeking new Utah Supreme Court practice rule that would permit them to take the Utah bar exam and be admitted to practice, as they both already are in California. LatinoJustice knows first-hand from the many non-citizen law students and graduates we have assisted and supported over the years who have become dedicated and exceptional members of the bar dedicated to community service and serving the public good.

    LatinoJustice respectfully submits that the new bar admission rule proposal does not go far enough by limiting eligibility solely to those who were brought to the U.S. as minors and have DACA and employment authorization. The Court instead should promulgate an expanded eligibility rule which would allow the bar admission of any non-citizens with federal permission to be in the U.S. or who have employment authorization irrespective of whether they were brought to the U.S. as a minor, and without regard to immigration status or category. All non-citizens with permission to be in the United States, including those with DACA, TPS or other temporary deferred status, or who have employment authorization should be eligible for bar admission

  90. Brianda

    As an educator, and human being I am support this change. Utah owes DACA recipients, and immigrants and the opportunity to allow people to live their lives as professionals and human beings free from fear. Utah has over 10, 500 DACA recipients and they are teachers, doctors, educators and human beings who deserve to live to their fullest potential regardless of immigration status. An overwhelmingly majority of DACA recipients have never been to their “county of origin” so why create more barriers for their success when their path is already obscured with so many legal obstacles? The state of Utah should not add more barriers to such a vulnerable population. If our federal government won’t put out a comprehensive immigration plan, then the state of Utah has to take care of its people who drive and move the economy forward. In addition, our universities in Utah educate and create incredible lawyers, so why would the state of Utah stop it’s people from being full participating members of society? It’s benefits everyone! Immigrants pay more taxes than US citizens and they aren’t able to get a tax return even though immigrants fund the economy of US citizens public Sevices they do not have access to. I urge the state of Utah to fully consider the impact of their decision if they fail to provide access.

  91. Glenda P

    As Utah is a state that permits undocumented students to attend institutions of higher education and can graduate with law degrees, these students should be eligible for admission to the Utah Bar.