Undocumented Residents in Law School

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Übermensch
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Undocumented Residents in Law School

Postby Übermensch » Fri Feb 04, 2011 5:28 pm

A friend of mine wants to attend law school in the United States, but he is an undocumented resident. He's afraid to create his own account and ask about this, so he asked me to do it.

He was brought to the states as an infant and grew up here. He graduated from an American university, and has the numbers to get into a T-14 school, even as high as HYS.

He has shown me articles about undocumented residents graduating from some law schools, including Yale, UCLA, and American, so it seems possible to be admitted. However, he's wondering if there is anything he should do or be aware of. Obviously, job prospects are slim to none unless the laws change. Besides that, which is obviously an important issue, is admission to American law schools likely? If so, which schools have lenient residency requirements?

arak
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Re: Undocumented Residents in Law School

Postby arak » Fri Feb 04, 2011 5:52 pm

Have him wait and pray for the DREAM Act? Haha.

sarahh
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Re: Undocumented Residents in Law School

Postby sarahh » Fri Feb 04, 2011 7:23 pm

I would not focus on the admission to law school part - he could probably find a school to take him. But there is a good chance he will not be able to gain admission to the bar or get a legal job. It usually does not make sense to go to law school if one cannot actually practice as a lawyer.

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Übermensch
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Re: Undocumented Residents in Law School

Postby Übermensch » Fri Feb 04, 2011 8:58 pm

sarahh wrote:I would not focus on the admission to law school part - he could probably find a school to take him. But there is a good chance he will not be able to gain admission to the bar or get a legal job. It usually does not make sense to go to law school if one cannot actually practice as a lawyer.

He is aware of the difficulty he will face in finding a job. I keep reminding him of this, also. He says that he wants to do public interest work, specifically in immigration law. The firm he works for concentrates on immigration law, so he has a few years of experience in the field.

He is hoping that in the next four or so years between now and when he will graduate from law school, either the DREAM Act or some sort of comprehensive immigration reform that would help his situation will pass Congress. With the Republican controlled House, though, that seems unlikely.

Anyway, does anyone have any success stories to share of undocumented students being admitted to top law schools? Did they do anything in particular, like try to organize an interview or visit the school to speak with an admissions officer? He wants to visit some of the T-14 schools, but since he lives in the south, and traveling is particularly difficult for him, I don't think he will be able to do so.

HopefulFish
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Re: Undocumented Residents in Law School

Postby HopefulFish » Fri Feb 04, 2011 9:10 pm

arak wrote:Have him wait and pray for the DREAM Act? Haha.


Stop the douche dude.

rose711
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Re: Undocumented Residents in Law School

Postby rose711 » Sat Feb 05, 2011 12:10 am

I don't know of any data about undocumented students in law schools. There should be some kind of immigration public interest group which tracks that information but I have no idea who it would be. You might start with contacting AILA and see if they have any info on this.

http://www.aila.org/

I am not familiar with that site - but they may have a forum where you can post a question.

It may be possible to call/email from an anonymous account law school admission offices and ask questions on behalf of your friend. You really don't have anything to lose but a bit of time.

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dr123
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Re: Undocumented Residents in Law School

Postby dr123 » Sat Feb 05, 2011 12:14 am

Even if the Dream act passed it seems like that could still be an issue with C+F

rose711
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Re: Undocumented Residents in Law School

Postby rose711 » Sat Feb 05, 2011 12:26 am

dr123 wrote:Even if the Dream act passed it seems like that could still be an issue with C+F


This is an interesting question but the Dream Act would give the undocumented residents legal status to work, travel and go to school. But there are onerous requirements to be met which, if a person could pass them, would probably help them get through C+F.

I am not sure how this would be treated by C&F and am starting to get interested in researching the question just out of curiosity.

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mpj_3050
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Re: Undocumented Residents in Law School

Postby mpj_3050 » Sat Feb 05, 2011 12:36 am

America is a festering carcass, get the hell out and go to Canada. Toronto is a great school and your friend has the numbers.

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dr123
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Re: Undocumented Residents in Law School

Postby dr123 » Sat Feb 05, 2011 12:39 am

rose711 wrote:
dr123 wrote:Even if the Dream act passed it seems like that could still be an issue with C+F


This is an interesting question but the Dream Act would give the undocumented residents legal status to work, travel and go to school. But there are onerous requirements to be met which, if a person could pass them, would probably help them get through C+F.

I am not sure how this would be treated by C&F and am starting to get interested in researching the question just out of curiosity.


The big issue I was thinking about is that currently in order for an undocumented resident to get into law school requires lying about citizenship on applications and when registering for LSAT and maybe even to get loans(?), which I don't think C+F would be too fond of

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dresden doll
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Re: Undocumented Residents in Law School

Postby dresden doll » Sat Feb 05, 2011 12:50 am

dr123 wrote:Even if the Dream act passed it seems like that could still be an issue with C+F

Highly dubious.

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Tanicius
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Re: Undocumented Residents in Law School

Postby Tanicius » Sat Feb 05, 2011 1:15 am

dresden doll wrote:
dr123 wrote:Even if the Dream act passed it seems like that could still be an issue with C+F

Highly dubious.


Seriously? You don't think it's risky to lie about citizenship for the purposes of admissions and loans?

HopefulFish
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Re: Undocumented Residents in Law School

Postby HopefulFish » Sat Feb 05, 2011 1:19 am

Tanicius wrote:
dresden doll wrote:
dr123 wrote:Even if the Dream act passed it seems like that could still be an issue with C+F

Highly dubious.


Seriously? You don't think it's risky to lie about citizenship for the purposes of admissions and loans?


Why would you assume that these students would lie about their status? From what I understand, most of these students have financial sponsors from non-profit orgs sympathetic to their plight.

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Übermensch
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Re: Undocumented Residents in Law School

Postby Übermensch » Sat Feb 05, 2011 4:03 am

dr123 wrote:
rose711 wrote:
dr123 wrote:Even if the Dream act passed it seems like that could still be an issue with C+F


This is an interesting question but the Dream Act would give the undocumented residents legal status to work, travel and go to school. But there are onerous requirements to be met which, if a person could pass them, would probably help them get through C+F.

I am not sure how this would be treated by C&F and am starting to get interested in researching the question just out of curiosity.


The big issue I was thinking about is that currently in order for an undocumented resident to get into law school requires lying about citizenship on applications and when registering for LSAT and maybe even to get loans(?), which I don't think C+F would be too fond of


He's seriously considering Canada, but without legal status in the states, especially after acquiring years of unlawful presence, Canada is unlikely to accept him for a student visa. It's a pretty terrible situation. On the other hand, he could go back to the country of his birth and apply to immigrate to the United States, but chances of success are extremely unlikely, especially considering the ten year bar he would need to satisfy. That means he can't come back to the United States for ten years after leaving, so law school probably won't be a concern anymore. He's really hoping for a legislative change of policy or finding an alternative job in which a J.D. would still be useful.

On another note, he did tell me that he is not going to lie about his status at all. Actually, he's going to write his personal statement about it.

In regards to scholarships, is he still eligible for merit-based aid, especially the named scholarships at top schools? Obviously, admission is his biggest concern, but with numbers like his, a scholarship seems possible.

rose711
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Re: Undocumented Residents in Law School

Postby rose711 » Sat Feb 05, 2011 8:32 am

Sorry I don't know the status of scholarships. I do wonder though why he would go to law school when he won't be able to work legally anywhere, even if he would forgo taking the bar? Of course he can't lie about his status, but he will not have any work authorization.

I recommended in another thread that the person talk to an immigration center, here in New York there are excellent free centers at CUNY:

http://www.cuny.edu/about/resources/cit ... ented.html

http://www.cuny.edu/about/resources/cit ... ntact.html

Edit : just fyi - if he goes to Canada he is subject to the 10-year bar too, that bar begins the moment he crosses the US border and he would have to try to get a waiver - which is very dependent on the relevant facts, but highly unlikely. So just going to Canada isn't a good option unless he wants to live there. I don't know anything about their immigration policies. This why he needs expert legal advice before he does anything. The lawyers at CUNY probably get questions about going to grad/law schools all the time.

sarahh
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Re: Undocumented Residents in Law School

Postby sarahh » Sat Feb 05, 2011 1:33 pm

Here is an article about an undocumented immigrant who went to UCLA law.

http://articles.latimes.com/2010/nov/26 ... r-20101126

Maybe your friend could get in touch with him.

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Übermensch
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Re: Undocumented Residents in Law School

Postby Übermensch » Sat Feb 05, 2011 3:45 pm

rose711 wrote:Sorry I don't know the status of scholarships. I do wonder though why he would go to law school when he won't be able to work legally anywhere, even if he would forgo taking the bar? Of course he can't lie about his status, but he will not have any work authorization.

I recommended in another thread that the person talk to an immigration center, here in New York there are excellent free centers at CUNY:

http://www.cuny.edu/about/resources/cit ... ented.html

http://www.cuny.edu/about/resources/cit ... ntact.html

Edit : just fyi - if he goes to Canada he is subject to the 10-year bar too, that bar begins the moment he crosses the US border and he would have to try to get a waiver - which is very dependent on the relevant facts, but highly unlikely. So just going to Canada isn't a good option unless he wants to live there. I don't know anything about their immigration policies. This why he needs expert legal advice before he does anything. The lawyers at CUNY probably get questions about going to grad/law schools all the time.

Thanks! I'll forward those links to my friend.

He is aware that if he leaves the United States, even for Canada, the ten year bar will go into effect. He is considering Toronto and York (Osgoode Hall), and if he does decide to go to either of those, I think his goal will be to eventually become a Canadian citizen with no intent of returning to the United States. However, he has grown up here, and if possible, he wants to stay.

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ArchRoark
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Re: Undocumented Residents in Law School

Postby ArchRoark » Sat Feb 05, 2011 3:53 pm

Don't schools ask for the Visa status of international applicants and require a SSN for US citizens?

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Übermensch
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Re: Undocumented Residents in Law School

Postby Übermensch » Sat Feb 05, 2011 4:01 pm

ArchRoark wrote:Don't schools ask for the Visa status of international applicants and require a SSN for US citizens?

I think you're right on both counts. He will probably just leave that part blank since he's going to address this issue in his personal statement.

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Übermensch
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Re: Undocumented Residents in Law School

Postby Übermensch » Sat Feb 05, 2011 8:51 pm

I apologize for the double post, but another issue he wanted me to ask about is whether there is any serious danger in applying to law school for a person with his legal status. Obviously, he doesn't want INS or ICE to get involved. Could law schools potentially turn over information on undocumented applicants to such agencies, or are applications confidential? If they can, what is the likelihood that they will? Obviously, nobody will be able to provide a number or definitive answer, but this is a serious issue that concerns him, so he doesn't want to take it lightly.

danrocksout
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Re: Undocumented Residents in Law School

Postby danrocksout » Sat Feb 05, 2011 9:01 pm

He can attend law school as long as a school accepts him. If his numbers are good, he shouldn't have a problem. Unfortunately, he is categorically ineligible for financial aid (though he can get in-state tuition for UC Hastings, UCLA, and UC Berkeley if he is a CA resident), making it very difficult for him to afford law school without private scholarships. UCLA offers a scholarship that is available to people who are ineligible for financial aid due to immigration status:

http://www.calfund.org/give/giving_firebaugh.php

PM me and I'd be happy to share more of my (limited) knowledge.

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dr123
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Re: Undocumented Residents in Law School

Postby dr123 » Sat Feb 05, 2011 9:03 pm

This article may help a bit. Also you could try to contact Luis Perez if that's at all possible

http://blogs.findlaw.com/strategist/201 ... e-law.html

danrocksout
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Re: Undocumented Residents in Law School

Postby danrocksout » Sat Feb 05, 2011 9:06 pm

Also, although it is hypothetically possible that a school could share his information with ICE (INS no longer exists), I've never heard of that happening. Also, as others have referenced, undocumented students have attended top law schools in the past, sometimes very openly:

http://articles.latimes.com/2010/nov/26 ... r-20101126

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gov
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Re: Undocumented Residents in Law School

Postby gov » Sat Feb 05, 2011 9:07 pm

Übermensch wrote:
ArchRoark wrote:Don't schools ask for the Visa status of international applicants and require a SSN for US citizens?

I think you're right on both counts. He will probably just leave that part blank since he's going to address this issue in his personal statement.



He needs to leave that part blank. It is easy to get a fake SSN, but I would not risk it, esp. with C&F.

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dr123
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Re: Undocumented Residents in Law School

Postby dr123 » Sat Feb 05, 2011 9:09 pm

danrocksout wrote:Also, although it is hypothetically possible that a school could share his information with ICE (INS no longer exists), I've never heard of that happening. Also, as others have referenced, undocumented students have attended top law schools in the past, sometimes very openly:

http://articles.latimes.com/2010/nov/26 ... r-20101126


Luis Perez can't be admitted to the bar though, taking on all of that debt and then not being able to find a job doesn't seem like the best idea.

from the wsj

Let us explain: Perez recently got his law degree from UCLA (pictured), and in so doing became the first “undocumented” immigrant ever to do so. He’s planning on taking the California bar exam in January.

But for now, his immigration status prevents him from practicing law and, for that matter, landing a legal-industry job.




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