Indian American ‘Dreamer’ Joins New Jersey Bar Association
Lawyer Parthiv Patel was earlier denied membership to the bar because of his immigrant status.
An Indian American recipient of the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals Act (DACA) became the first such individual to be admitted to the New Jersey Bar Association. He had come to the United States from India at the age of 5 years.
New Jersey Attorney Gurbir Grewal, the first Sikh to hold this position in the United States, administered the oath of office on Jan. 24 to Parthiv Patel, who had passed the bar exams of New Jersey and Pennsylvania in 2016. He was initially denied membership to the bar but was admitted later after a successful appeal with the help of American Civil Liberties Union.
“We’re making it absolutely clear today that we will use all of the tools of the attorney general’s office to protect the rights of ‘Dreamers’ like Parthiv, to enjoy that American dream, and to ensure the safety and well-being of all New Jerseyans regardless of their immigration status,” Grewal said at the inauguration attended by New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy.
Murphy announced that New Jersey would be joining a multi-state lawsuit challenging President Donald Trump’s decision to end the DACA Act.
“Today I stand here with one message: Dreamers are Americans. We are fifth-graders alongside your children in the school play. We are your friends and your colleagues. And we are your doctors and your accountants and now in New Jersey, your lawyers,” Patel said, according to PTI. “The process of getting admitted to practice law has been daunting, but today’s ceremony is a reminder of the reason I’ve strived so hard to become a lawyer: to use my training and abilities to uplift others. In a climate of anxiety, it’s a comfort to know that we ‘Dreamers’ are not alone in this fight.”
ACLU-NJ Senior Supervising Attorney Alexander Shalom said: “Parthiv’s long wait for bar admission shows the type of obstacles that ‘Dreamers’ are up against, and at the same time, his determination and altruistic spirit in the face of uncertainty demonstrate the best that New Jersey and America have to offer.”
The DACA or Dreamers program protects around 800,000 people from being deported. It covers people who were brought to the United States illegally as children. In New Jersey alone, there are around 22,000 DACA members who could lose their employment and homes if the program is ended. Corporations, tech lobbies, and several states in America have appealed towards continuing the Obama-era program.
Trump recently said, “Tell them not to worry. We are going to solve the problem. It’s up to the Democrats, but they should not be worried. We’re going to morph into it. It’s going to happen.” Trump added that DACA recipients could become citizens “at some point in the future, over a period of 10 to 12 years.”
After a federal judged ruled that applications should be renewed until the litigation is continuing, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) resumed the renewal process. However, those who have never applied still have no reprieve.