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Garcia’s Chance to Win a Law License Remains Slim
Sergio C. Garcia has made national news by being one of the most controversial applicants for a license to practice law. On the face of it, Garcia is an illegal immigrant who was brought into the country as a child by his father.
He was an excellent student, lead a life of a model citizen, passed the state bar exam in California and was deemed morally fit to practice law. The state bar sent his application to the California Supreme Court for approval, and then it got held up there.
On Wednesday, Garcia’s case came up for hearing, but most of the justices indicated that they were bound to follow the law that denied professional licenses to illegal immigrants.
Incidentally, Garcia’s green card application was accepted in 1995, but he is yet to receive a green card, after 18 years. Government timelines move at different speeds for different people.
In Garcia’s case, both the State Bar of California, and Attorney General Kamala D. Harris found Garcia admissible to the practice of law. However, none of the justices suggested during the hearing that there was even the slimmest opportunity for him to receive the license.
In fact, most justices seemed to opine that this was a political matter, and not one for the court to adjudicate.
Justice Marvin R. Baxter said that though there is a federal ban in the matter that denies illegal immigrants from obtaining a professional license, the same ban has provisions where state legislatures could override it. Baxter’s comments clearly indicated that this was the failure of California lawmakers who could have chosen to act to create the exemption for similar cases.
Baxter said, “I would think there is a lot of public support for this … It seems to me a classic case where the political process could achieve a lot more than asking this court to legislate.”
The justices were of the opinion that the court had no right to allow a license to Garcia as the federal ban prohibited publicly funded entities from issuing professional licenses to illegal immigrants, and the court was a publicly funded entity.