Local DACA recipient graduates from Quinnipiac University Law School

HARTFORD -- Immigrants in Connecticut authorized to work in the U.S. are now one step close to being able to practice law in the state.

On Monday, a group of superior court judges voted unanimously to approve an amendment to the law that limits bar eligibility to U.S. citizens and those with permanent resident status.

“Joy and relief and I’m just really happy I can share it with my mom,” said 28-year-old Denia Perez.

Perez graduated from Quinnipiac University law on Sunday.

However, because she is a beneficiary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, her ability to pursue the career she wants was uncertain until the decision on Monday.

“Like I mentioned in my testimony, I like rules and structure but I think rules should make sense and a lot of our rules don’t make sense when it comes to immigration,” Perez said.

Perez came to the U.S. with her parents when she was just 11 months old.

Although she always dreamed of becoming a lawyer, current law in Connecticut limits the bar exam to U.S. citizens and permanent residents.

Perez and a her network of supporters have been fighting to amend the law to include those who are authorized to work in the USA like DACA recipients.

“I think she is one of the first students who is a DACA recipient who is graduating from a Connecticut law school who wants to be admitted to the Connecticut bar,” Quinnipiac Adjunct Professor Sheila Hayre said.