Undocumented immigrant admitted to practice law

The California Supreme Court today announced that it granted a motion filed by the State Bar of California to admit Sergio C. Garcia, an undocumented immigrant, to the state bar.

It was a unanimous decision that he may practice law based in part on a new statute passed by lawmakers in September 2013 that clearly authorizes the court to allow undocumented immigrants to be admitted into the bar in 2014.

Garcia, born in Mexico in 1977, immigrated to California with his parents a couple of times as a minor. His father became a permanent resident in 1994 and filed an immigration petition for Garcia the following year.

“But, under current federal law, the number of available immigration visas that may be issued each year is limited and is based upon an applicant’s country of origin,” said a statement from the courts. ” Because the backlog of persons of Mexican origin who are seeking immigrant visas is so large, as of the date of the court’s opinion — more than 19 years after Garcia’s visa petition was filed — a visa number still has not become available for Garcia and may not become available for many years.”

Garcia attended Butte College; California State University, Chico; and Cal Northern School of Law, where he received his law degree in May 2009.  He passed the bar examination the same year 2009.

 

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