E-Communication from the Hispanic National Bar Association

June 9, 2015
Washington D.C. The Hispanic National Bar Association applauds the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Appellate Division, for its unanimous decision on June 3, 2015, approving the application of Cesar Adrian Vargas, a DREAMer, for admission to the Bar of the State of New York.  In its ruling on this issue of first impression nationwide, the five-judge panel states:  "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 interests 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." Mr. Vargas, although an undocumented immigrant, is authorized to remain in the country through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program authorized by President Barack Obama in 2012 through executive action.  

The HNBA urges other states, their judiciaries, and legislatures to adopt the court’s reasoning to permit DREAMers to obtain professional licenses. California and Florida have already enacted statutes which specifically authorize the admission of certain individuals without lawful immigration status to the practice of law, provided they meet all other eligibility requirements. “It makes so much sense to allow DREAMers to reach their full potential and contribute to our society and economy, instead of treating them as second-class citizens. The HNBA fully supports the court’s reasoning and will advocate for other states to do the same,” says Cynthia D. Mares, HNBA National President.

The evaluation of Mr. Vargas’s background and character by a committee appointed by the New York Supreme Court rated him “stellar” but recommended against his certification as a lawyer, due to his status as an undocumented immigrant.  During the pendency of his application for admission to the New York bar, which took nearly 3 years, Mr. Vargas co-founded the Dream Action Coalition, a lobbying group that works to reform immigration laws. The question of whether he should be allowed to practice law, the committee said, was better suited to the courts or the legislature to decide. Mr. Vargas came to the United States from Mexico at age 5, studied law at City University, New York, graduated in 2011 and passed the New York State bar examination. 

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About the Hispanic National Bar Association
The Hispanic National Bar Association is an incorporated, not-for-profit, national membership association that represents the interests of Hispanic attorneys, judges, law professors, legal assistants, law students, and legal professionals in the United States and its territories. Since 1972, the HNBA has acted as a force for positive change within the legal profession by creating opportunities for Hispanic lawyers and by helping generations of lawyers to succeed. The HNBA has also effectively advocated on issues of importance to the national Hispanic community. While we are proud of our accomplishments, we are mindful that our mission is as vital today as it was four decades ago, especially as the U.S. Hispanic population continues to grow. For more information, please visit


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