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California grants law license to undocumented immigrant

Jan 3, 2014

"The California Supreme Court granted a law license Thursday to an undocumented immigrant, a first-of-its-kind ruling that allows Sergio Garcia to practice law in his adopted state.

The court ruled that a combination of federal and state laws allows for Garcia, who was first brought to the USA by his parents from Mexico when he was 17 months old, to obtain the law license necessary for him to practice law in California.

Garcia, the justices wrote, cannot work as an employee of a law firm or any other company because of his undocumented status federal law prohibits businesses from hiring undocumented immigrants, and he remains in that status. The opinion said he could do legal work on a pro bono basis.

The ruling excited other undocumented immigrants in his position. Cesar Vargas has been fighting a similar fight in New York. After his parents brought him to the country when he was 5 years old, Vargas graduated from City University of New York School of Law and passed the New York state bar exam in November 2011.

Vargas, who is co-director of the DREAM Act Coalition, a group that advocates for undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children, said there are probably hundreds of people in their situation. Although he was preparing to cite Garcia's ruling in his case in New York, Vargas said it's too early to tell how much impact Thursday's ruling will have on other cases. "It's a great step, but it's only California," Vargas said. "We still have to hear what New York and Texas and Florida and other states say. We still have a state-by-state battle." - To read the full article,Please register on our mailing list.

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