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Application for Bar Admission by Immigrant Supported by California Attorney General View Count: 145
Sergio Garcia is living in the country illegally and is a Mexican immigrant. Garcia finished law school by working multiple jobs and taking the money made from publishing a self-help book. Garcia is running into problems with practicing law in California though because he is not in the country legally. He has passed the California bar exam; on the first try no less.
The California Supreme Court is hearing the case regarding Garcia being admitted to the state’s bar, according to CBS News. The case will determine if Garcia is permitted to practice law in the state even though employment would be illegal since he is not in the country legally. A brief was filed with the Supreme Court on Wednesday by state General Attorney Kamala Harris supporting Garcia’s application to the bar. The U.S. Department of Justice will lend input to the court in the case.
Harris wrote the following in the brief submitted to the Supreme Court about Garcia: “Admitting Garcia to the bar would be consistent with state and federal policy that encourages immigrants, both documented and undocumented, to contribute to society.”
Jerome Fishkin, the lawyer for Garcia, said that Garcia deserves the chance to practice law in the state. “Sergio is poster boy for the sort of immigrant that made this country great. He comes here, he works hard, he’s not been on welfare, not taken student loans and worked his way all the way through.”
Larry DeSha is a former state bar prosecutor who said that the issue revolves around whether or not Garcia will be able to uphold the oath. “It is the duty of an attorney to support the Constitution and laws of the United States and of this state. My argument is that includes immigration law, which means not being here illegally.”
Garcia lives in Durham and finds it offensive to be described as an illegal immigrant. Garcia arrived in the United States illegally as an infant with his family but he applied to become a resident in 1995. Garcia is still waiting for residency 17 years later as the case is pending. Garcia’s father has become a citizen and his mother has become a permanent resident.
“It’s a difficult position. It’s like being in limbo. I don’t belong anywhere,” Garcia said during an interview. Garcia also said that he never thought his status as an immigrant would affect his goal of becoming a lawyer. Prior to Garcia passing the bar, the State Bar of California began requesting the immigration status of applicants. Garcia informed the State Bar that his status was yet to be decided.
“I have done the best I can within my limitations and circumstances to be 100 percent honest and upfront,” Garcia said. The California Supreme Court has been recommended to issue a ruling that favors Garcia by the State Bar.Application for Bar Admission by Immigrant Supported by California Attorney General by Jim Vassallo