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Cesar Vargas

U.S. Army Reserve
Active Service

Born in Puebla, Mexico, Cesar and his family immigrated to the U.S. when he was just five years old. His family, including two sisters who live in Port Richmond, call Staten Island home.

Cesar excelled academically in both college and law school. As an undocumented law graduate from the City University of New York School of Law, he led the fight for equal opportunity and access to the practice of law. Cesar applied to join the New York bar in 2012, but the Second Department’s Committee on Character and Fitness recommended against his application because of his immigration status. In June, 2015, and after nearly three-years legal battle, a five-judge panel in New York ruled that Cesar can be admitted to practice law in the state he has called home for most of his life. In February of 2016, he was finally sworn-in as a licensed attorney making history as the first undocumented lawyer in the state of New York.

Vargas’ enlistment in the Army Reserve marked the culmination of a remarkable, nearly two-decades-long journey from undocumented immigrant to trail-blazing attorney and activist. Nationwide and on Staten Island, Cesar has been an advocate for a better immigration policy.

Mr. Vargas has also educated immigrants on their rights, represented military families dealing with immigration issues, and provides pro-bono representation to children facing deportation in immigration court.

Cesar is proud to be the first in his family to serve in the military and show the contribution of immigrants in the Armed Forces.

Sponsored by Robinson Iglesias