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Illegal Immigrant Should Be Admitted to Practice, Calif. State Bar Tells State Supreme Court

Posted Jun 19, 2012 12:10 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Just because a lawyer is licensed to practice doesn't mean he or she has a legal right to work.

But that distinction shows that a law license should be granted to an illegal immigrant, Sergio C. Garcia, who has met the requirements for admission, argues the Committee of Bar Examiners of the State Bar of California in a brief (PDF) filed Monday with the state supreme court. As a copy provided by msnbc.com explains, the brief was sought by the supreme court in a May 2012 show-cause order that also said amicus filings would be welcome.

Now 35 and working with his father, who is a U.S. citizen, as a beekeeper, Garcia was brought to this county as a toddler, returned to Mexico when he was about 9 and then came back illegally to the U.S. with other family members when he was 17, according to msnbc.com and the Los Angeles Times.

Although he cannot legally be employed in this country, Garcia can volunteer as a lawyer here, if licensed, or work as an independent contractor, the state bar said in its filing. It also notes that citizens of other countries who legally study at U.S. law schools on student visas can become licensed here.

Garcia's father applied for a green card for him 18 years ago. The application is still pending, but the card has not been granted, the newspaper notes.

Additional and related coverage:

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

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

ABAJournal.com: "Undocumented Law Grad Can’t Get Driver’s License, But Hopes for Fla. Supreme Court OK of Law License"

National Public Radio: "Fla. Court To Rule: Can A Lawyer Be Undocumented?"

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