United States

DACA Recipient Earns Right to Practice Law in Connecticut

For any new law school graduate, the relief of being admitted to the bar is real.

"It’s just the end of law school and feeling like I can relax," Denia Perez said.

For one new attorney, it’s an accomplishment that wasn’t allowed for her until now.

"I get to be a part of history," Perez said.

Perez is a Dreamer, a DACA recipient who came to the U.S. from Mexico at 11 months old. Until last year the Quinnipiac law grad wasn’t allowed to practice law in Connecticut, so she worked to change it.

"We amended the language in the practice book so that people with work authorization would be able to be admitted to the Connecticut bar," Perez said.

"For someone to take that on early in her career she probably has a very bright future in front of herself," Jonathan Shapiro, president of the Connecticut Bar Association said.

Perez’s mom is proud of the first of her kind attorney and for what she calls a hard-fought journey for citizenship.

"I wanted her to be successful because I didn’t have the opportunity to go at school back there," Genoveva Noriega said.

"She’s felt the pain so she knows what it’s been taking your mom your dad is going to be away from you," Noriega added.

For Perez its personal experience now paving the way for her to put into practice.

"I’m really glad I was able to do this for myself but also honestly for other people who are like me I want to stay in Connecticut," Perez said.

Perez is now working as a fellow in New York, she plans on putting her experience to practice and becoming an immigration attorney.

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