An aspiring New York lawyer trying to become one of the few illegal immigrants to be granted a law license hit a glitch Wednesday when an Iowa judge refused to prematurely end his probation on a misdemeanor conviction.
Cesar Vargas, who was 5 when he and his mother illegally arrived from Mexico, was arrested in January for disrupting a speech by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in Des Moines. The immigration activist was convicted in June of trespassing, sentenced to a year of probation and fined $65.
The 31-year-old is applying for a law license in New York, which generally doesn’t grant licenses to people on probation. Vargas asked a judge to end his probation early, and finished all other requirements of his sentence, but the judge refused Wednesday.
“It would be rare for this court to discharge anybody sooner,” Judge Kevin Parker said during a hearing in Des Moines.
Vargas completed high school in New York and obtained a law degree from City University of New York School of Law. He has been allowed to remain and work in the U.S. under President Barack Obama’s new policy initiated in 2012.