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Utah high court allows ‘Dreamer’ law school grads to practice in state

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The Salt Lake City-County Building photographed from inside the Matheson Courthouse on Monday, Aug. 12, 2019.

Steve Griffin, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Undocumented law school graduates will now be able to legally practice in Utah.

The Utah Supreme Court, which regulates the practice of law in the state, adopted a rule Wednesday making residents with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, status eligible for admission to the Utah State Bar should they meet all other requirements.

The state’s high court heard arguments in October in a case brought by two Utah law school graduates who are identified in court filings as Jane and Mary Doe. Both are recipients of the DACA program, which shields them from deportation and allows them to lawfully work in the U.S. 

The court signaled its intent to adopt the rule last month and put it out for public comment through Jan. 23.

The justices found that the Utah Constitution does not prohibit the court from adopting a rule that would permit those with DACA status — often referred to as “Dreamers” — to practice law in the state.

The state bar does not limit admission to U.S. citizens, but it verifies an applicant’s legal presence in the country and denies admission to those who can’t establish that they are legally present. The bar also petitioned the state’s top court to let undocumented law school graduates practice in Utah.