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Sergio Garcia Becomes a Lawyer
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The journey of Sergio C. Garcia from coming to the U.S. as an undocumented immigrant, and continuing to be denied his Green Card, while he kept excelling in every endeavor is the stuff of novels and movies. On Saturday, Garcia became the nation’s first illegal immigrant to become a lawyer after being officially certified as a member of the legal profession in California. He was sworn in by Cruz Reynoso, a former associate justice of the state Supreme Court, ending a three-year legal battle and a change in laws.

Garcia had passed the state bar exam in 2011 making his parents proud – parents who had lived just as farm workers and dared to give an education to their child. The parents threw a party for the new lawyer and the Spanish-language radio celebrated his achievement – only things were not so easy.


The California Supreme Court put Garcia’s law license on hold and asked the State Bar of California to show why an undocumented immigrant should be allowed to practice law. Garcia had arrived at the age of 17 months, and this was the only place he knew to be his home. But that didn’t change the law, and the California Supreme Court said its hands were bound by law.

The incident created such a protest that lawmakers got together and changed the law in California that denied professional licenses to undocumented immigrants.

Following the change in law, and nothing left to keep Garcia from becoming a lawyer any more, on Jan 2, the California Supreme Court ruled that Garcia had finally met the requirements to become a lawyer.

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Garcia’s father earned his U.S. citizenship in 1994, his mother is a Green Card holder, his three siblings are natural citizens of US, but Garcia’s application for a Green Card has been pending for the last nineteen years.

After being sworn in, Garcia announced the establishment of a youth scholarship fund, the Sergio C. Garcia Foundation, with the “mission of supporting our youth independently of their background as long as they have the will, drive and need to succeed.”

He still doesn’t have a Green Card.

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