By Alice Kenny
Cesar Vargas just joined his now much publicized brother, Carlos, in breaking barriers so big that his story also landed in The New York Times.
As CrossStreets readers, you probably remember Carlos. He interned with Mark Zuckerburg at Facebook. He washed dishes at a restaurant to help support his family at age 13. He put himself through the College of Staten Island, taking seven years to graduate because he held down full time jobs while studying at the same time. But because his mother brought him from their impoverished Mexican home to the U.S. when he was 4 years old, he could not gain legal status.
Catholic Charities helped him renew his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status. This program does not alter his immigration status but does allow him to work and not face deportation. And The New York Times reported on our success in this New York Times Neediest Case.
Now Cesar, who, like his brother, also has DACA status, just won a precedent-setting legal ruling. An appellate panel of the State Supreme Court approved Cesar’s application to join the New York State Bar last week. That makes him the first immigrant without legal status to be approved to work as a lawyer in New York.
The decision could be a test case, writes The New York Times, not only for the city but also for the country. It could affect hundreds of immigrant would-be lawyers. And it could empower fellow immigrants who arrived as children to the United States and received a reprieve from deportation.
Closer to home, this Supreme Court decision also directly affects Cesar’s brother. Carlos just entered law school.
And both brothers plan to continue breaking barriers.
“In the end, if you are really going to be an advocate,” Cesar told The Times, “you can’t hide and you can’t just wait in the shadows.”
Read all about it in The New York Times.