Breaking News Bar
posted: 1/2/2014 1:57 PM

California grants law license to immigrant

hello
Success - Article sent! close
  • Sergio Garcia, who is living in the United States illegally but who graduated from law school and passed the state bar exam, can begin practicing law despite his immigration status.

      Sergio Garcia, who is living in the United States illegally but who graduated from law school and passed the state bar exam, can begin practicing law despite his immigration status.
    ASSOCIATED PRESS

 
Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO -- The California Supreme Court granted a law license on Thursday to a man living in the United States illegally who graduated from law school and passed the state bar exam.

The decision means Sergio Garcia can begin practicing law despite his immigration status.

Order Reprint Print Article
 
Interested in reusing this article?
Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.
The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.
Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.

Contact information ( * required )

Success - request sent close

Garcia had challenged a 1996 federal law that bars people living in the country illegally from receiving professional licenses from government agencies or with the use of public funds, unless state lawmakers vote otherwise.

Shortly after the court heard arguments in the case, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a state law that authorized the granting of the license. The new law went into effect Jan. 1.

Garcia arrived in the U.S. illegally 20 years ago to pick almonds with his father and worked at a grocery store and in the fields while attending school.

The case has pitted the Obama administration, which opposes licensing Garcia, against state officials who have supported him.

The Obama position in the case came as a surprise to some, since it adopted a program that shields people who were brought to the U.S. as children, graduated from high school and have kept a clean criminal record from deportation and allows them to legally work in the country.

At a hearing in September a majority of the state Supreme Court justices appeared reluctant to grant Garcia the license, saying the law prohibits them from doing so unless the Legislature acts.

The court is in charge of licensing attorneys in California.

Lawyers for the federal government argued that Garcia was barred from receiving his license because the court's budget is funded by public money.

But Garcia said his case is about showing other immigrants that hard work and dedication mean something in the U.S.

Garcia, 36, worked in the fields and at a grocery store before attending community college. He became a paralegal, went to law school and passed the bar on his first try. He applied for citizenship in 1994, and is still working toward that goal.

His effort has been supported by State Bar officials and California's attorney general, who argued that citizenship status is not a requirement to receive a California law license.

Share this page
Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.