Can undocumented immigrants practice law? California Supreme Court to decide

38476 full
38476 full

Undocumented immigrants by definition cannot work legally in the U.S. But can they practice law?

The California Supreme Court will soon figure that one out.

The case of Mexican-born Sergio Garcia is unprecedented. When he was 17 months old, he was brought to the U.S. by his parents without papers.

In 2009, he graduated from Chico State University, and later passed the state bar exam. But his dream of becoming an immigration lawyer has been put on hold.

Yesterday, the California Supreme Court agreed to consider whether the state bar can license Garcia.

The California bar began asking applicants about their immigration status four years ago, and it had informed the state supreme court that Garcia is undocumented. This is the first time the high court will review a state bar licensing decision.

The court wants to explore whether Garcia’s immigration status makes him ineligible for a professional license, whether he can be legally employed as an attorney and whether the fact that he’s here illegally constitutes a violation of moral character — one of the main requirements of the legal profession.

In a previous interview, Garcia said the fact that he was brought to the U.S. illegally as an infant should not reflect negatively on his moral character.

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