Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Hillsborough County's Jose Godinez-Samperio meets the president

Posted By on Wed, Feb 13, 2013 at 12:43 PM

Jose Godinez-Samperio with President Obama on Tuesday night
  • Jose Godinez-Samperio with President Obama on Tuesday night
Last night at the State of the Union, Jose Godinez-Samperio, a Florida State College of Law graduate whose quest to become an attorney has been stifled by his immigration status, met President Obama.

That was the goal of Tampa area Democratic Congresswoman Kathy Castor when she announced on Monday that Godinez-Samperio would be her chosen guest at the SOTU address.

Castor was one of at least five Democrats — including First Lady Michelle Obama, Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, Illinois Rep. Luis Gutierrez and Texas Congressman Marc Veasey — who brought an undocumented immigrant as their guest for the night.

Godinez-Samperio is the Hillsborough County resident who made headlines last fall by attempting to become the first undocumented immigrant to obtain a law license. His case went before the Florida Supreme Court after he earned a law degree from Florida State University and passed the state bar exam. The Board of Bar Examiners in Florida said they could find no reason to deny him a license, but asked the state's high court for guidance.

In his speech Tuesday night, President Obama once again addressed the need for comprehensive immigration reform to become a reality, boasting that his administration has been "putting more boots on the southern border" than any other time in our history.

"Real reform means establishing a responsible pathway to earned citizenship — a path that includes passing a background check, paying taxes and a meaningful penalty, learning English and going to the back of the line behind the folks trying to come here legally," he said. "And real reform means fixing the legal immigration system to cut waiting periods, reduce bureaucracy and attract the highly-skilled entrepreneurs and engineers that will help create jobs and grow our economy."

But at a hearing on immigration this morning in Washington, Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions said that the reason there might be a problem in passing such a bill this year is because the president hasn't adequately sealed the border.

Homeland Security head Janet Napolitano disagreed, saying in that border security has been achieved.

"Speaking as someone who, as Arizona's U.S. attorney, attorney general, and governor experienced the flood of illegal immigration in the early part of the century," Napolitano said."That situation no longer exists."

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