Immigration Law

Calif. AG Supports Illegal Immigrant's Quest for Law License


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Kamala Harris. DFree
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California’s attorney general is supporting the state bar-admission quest of a man who was brought to the United States illegally as a toddler.

Although Sergio Garcia, 35, applied for legal residency in 1995, his application is still pending, reports the Associated Press. His father is already a U.S. citizen and his mother is a permanent resident.

“Admitting Garcia to the bar would be consistent with state and federal policy that encourages immigrants, both documented and undocumented, to contribute to society,” wrote AG Kamala Harris in a brief she filed Wednesday.

The California Supreme Court is also seeking input on Garcia’s bar application from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Opponents question how an individual who is supposed to follow legal requirements could do so while himself in the country illegally. Garcia, who disclosed his immigration status as “pending” on his bar application, says he has done the best he can in a difficult situation.

“It’s a difficult position. It’s like being in limbo. I don’t belong anywhere,” he told the AP in a Thursday interview.

Garcia’s lawyer, Jerome Fishkin, says Garcia could work as an independent contractor, even though he could not be legally employed as a lawyer given his current immigration status.

Additional and related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Can an Undocumented Immigrant Be Admitted to Practice? California Supreme Court Must Decide”

ABAJournal.com: “California Supreme Court Considers Whether to Grant Law License to Illegal Immigrant”

ABAJournal.com: “Illegal Immigrant Should Be Admitted to Practice, Calif. State Bar Tells State Supreme Court”

ABAJournal.com: “CUNY Law Grad Reveals Undocumented Status, Fears He Can’t Practice Despite Passing NY Bar”

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