California Supreme Court: Can Illegal Immigrants Practice Law?

Legal Compliance Resource
September 4, 2013 — 1,296 views  

This question is extremely important in defining the principles on which the Supreme Court really functions. It is taking precedence among other news today because of the hearing on September 4, 2013 regarding the eligibility of an illegal immigrant obtaining a legal license to practice law in the state of California. If you bring in the technicalities of the issue, there seems to be quite a strong case for the allowance of the license. However, this is being debated about in many different places because of the discrepancies involving the practitioners themselves being illegal immigrants.

The people who come under the category ‘illegal immigrant’ also have rights under the constitution, which have to be taken into consideration in this matter. This specific case is getting widespread attention because the person in concern, Sergio Garcia, has a lot of support for his case. He has acquired a degree in law. However, the legislation of his license is still under consideration due to his lack of citizenship. The Obama administration, which usually supports laws in the favor of illegal immigrants, does not want Garcia to get a law license.

Presenting the Facts of the Case

Unfortunately for him, federal law is not on Garcia’s side, and the Supreme Court has to take into consideration the fact that giving him a professional license would be bypassing federal law completely. Some critics report that it would be against the principles of the highest court to allow or grant a license to this man. However, the facts seem to be in the favor of the immigrant, as he was brought to the country as a minor (17 years of age), and a visa petition was filed for by his father upon reaching the country.

This petition has already been approved. However there is a clause in the United States Immigration and Citizen Services section of the Department of Homeland Security webpage. This section mentions that the members of an immigrant’s family have to wait for an available visa number prior to applying for a visa. Garcia has been living in the States for the past two decades, and has been awaiting his visa for close to eighteen years. As of now, he is self-employed as a public speaker. He neither has a criminal record against him nor has he avoided taxes in any way. He has remained an exemplary citizen of the country in the twenty years of his stay.

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