New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal and Gov. Phil Murphy swore in ’16 alumnus Parthiv Patel to the state bar in a high-profile Jan. 24 event that unfolded amidst intense national debate over immigration.
At the ceremony, Patel became the first DREAMer to be admitted to the New Jersey State Bar, Murphy said, adding that the state was honored to take the historic step.
“Parthiv’s story stands as a shining example of what it is we’re fighting for,” Murphy said. “He is as much an American as my four kids, or, frankly, anyone in our state. He has studied hard and excelled.”
Patel, who passed the bar exams in New Jersey as well as Pennsylvania in 2016, faced complications with admission to the bar in both states, due to his immigration status.
Coming to the U.S. from India at age 5, Patel received Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status in 2012. The Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners initially determined that Patel was ineligible to practice law in the commonwealth. The ACLU of Pennsylvania successfully advocated on Patel’s behalf, making him the first DREAMer to be admitted to practice in the commonwealth in early January.
The ACLU-New Jersey successfully advocated on Patel’s behalf in New Jersey, clearing the way for him to practice in the Garden State as well.
At Patel’s swearing-in, Murphy pledged to fight for 22,000 other DREAMers who reside in New Jersey.
“To deny DREAMers the ability to become American citizens is to deny justice – the very sense of justice that Parthiv today swore to uphold,” Murphy said. “Thank you, Parthiv, for your courage and your perseverance.”
Murphy then announced that the state will join a federal lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to protect DACA grantees.