Thursday, January 2, 2014

Garcia Becomes First Undocumented California Attorney To Get State Bar License

Sergio C. Garcia

The California Supreme Court ruled that undocumented law school graduated can get a state bar license to practice law.

By H. Nelson Goodson
January 2, 2014

Durham, California - On Thursday, the California Supreme Court decided undocumented law school graduate Sergio Garcia, 36, of Durham who passed a state bar exam to practice law can now be granted license. Attorney Garcia who has been waiting since the age of 10 to become an attorney posted in his Facebook account, "With tears in my eyes I'm happy to report I am being admitted to the bar, thank God! This one is for all of you who dare to dream and by doing so change the world! Love you all! History was made today!"  With the state Supreme Court decision today, Attorney Garcia became the first undocumented Hispanic to get a law license in the U.S.
Garcia had passed the California Bar exam more than four years ago and was granted a law license, but afterwards it was rescinded by the state after it was learned that he was DREAMer. Garcia than sued the state and case ended up in the state Supreme Court.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)had argued that a 1996 federal law prohibited undocumented immigrants from getting a law license or public scholarship funds.
The argument followed, if a state passed legislation to allow DREAMers to practice law, would it be legal? The state Supreme Court decided it was legal.
The DOJ hasn't decided, if it will appeal the decision. The federal government prohibits any law firm or business to hire Garcia as an employee, but Garcia plans to start his own law firm. Federal law becomes mute, if Garcia opens his own law firm because federal doesn't prohibit for undocumented immigrants to become entrepreneurs in the U.S.
Garcia who arrived illegally as a child in the U.S. had applied for a green card (legal residence) and has been waiting for the issuance for 19 years due to a waiting list. The state of California also passed a bipartisan legislation to allow DREAMers to practice law in the state and it was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown (D).

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