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by
Bridget Johnson

Bio

January 2, 2014 - 2:45 pm

The California Supreme Court ruled today that a 36-year-old illegal immigrant who passed the state bar exam in 2009 should be allowed to legally practice law.

Sergio Garcia, who was brought to the U.S. illegally as a baby, returned to Mexico at age 9 and illegally entered the U.S. again at age 17 with his family. He began the naturalization process in 1995 and said he’s in the queue to receive a green card but won’t get it until 2019 because of the limited number of visas available for the large number of Mexicans seeking residency.

Garcia attended Butte College, California State University at Chico, and Cal Northern School of Law. He received his law degree in May 2009.

“In response to questions on the State Bar’s application for determination of moral character, Garcia indicated that he is not a United States citizen and that his immigration status is ‘Pending,’” the state’s high court noted in its decision. “The Committee conducted an extensive investigation of Garcia’s background, employment history, and past activities, received numerous reference letters supporting Garcia’s application and attesting to his outstanding moral character and significant contributions to the community, and ultimately determined that Garcia possessed the requisite good moral character to qualify for admission to the State Bar.”

The bar found that Garcia had used a fake alien registration number to maintain employment, which Garcia said was the result of not speaking English well at the time and becoming “panicked” when asked to fill out the form.

Garcia was also cited once for driving without a license or registration, and sought a license in neighboring Oregon where proof of lawful residency wasn’t required. The investigating committee couldn’t ascertain whether he’d been in residency for the required six months before getting the Oregon driver’s license.

The committee “determined that none of these incidents impugns Garcia’s good moral character, and that the record as a whole establishes that Garcia possesses the requisite good moral character to warrant admission to the State Bar.”

“I never in my life imagined it would take me longer to win my right to practice than it took to actually get my degree,” Garcia said in response to the ruling. “I’m glad California is moving forward and I think we’re setting a good example for the rest of the country.”

On the national scale, a group called the DREAM Bar Association advocates for law licenses for its illegal immigrant membership. In response to Garcia’s case, the California State Legislature passed a law allowing illegal immigrants to practice law.

The Justice Department did file briefs arguing against a law license for Garcia, but later dropped its opposition.

Bridget Johnson is a career journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
Look to who backs these policies then connect the dots.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
This "judge", the "DREAM Bar Association", and the California legislature are enemies of the United States and should be treated as such. At minimum, they should be exiled to Mexico, and seek to practice law there.

If politicians cannot respect the sovereignty of the nation they're supposed to serve, they are not fit for any purpose beyond chum or compost.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
A citizen with 50 years of superior legal ability from another state may not practice in California, they do not recognize such a person.

But someone who broke and entered the country, stole an identity and gamed the system...is worthy of recognition and rights denied to those who actually...follow the law and believe in it.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (16)
All Comments   (16)
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The real crime is that Sergio, who was first brought here and lived here for his first 9 years, was in Mexico only for 8 years, until he was 17, and has been in the U.S. the subsequent 19 years. That's 28 years out of his 36 years he's lived in the U.S. and he's still not a citizen. This is like sentencing a starving man to 20 years in jail for stealing bread already. Cut it out.
This is PHONY conservatism. This is a BROKEN GOVERNMENT.
Obey the law? What law? What government? HOW is he supposed to become a citizen after 28 years of non-stop nonsense? It is the government that is either breaking its own laws or can't pass ones that make sense.
And "citizens" who want to scream and complain but don't want to fix it.
This guy is smarter than most native born Americans. Quit your mindless complaining and tell Congress to make him a citizen along with a bunch of others like him. But while their at it, CLOSE THE BORDER.
If they don't and we can't vote them out, then it's our fault.
Get back to work.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Look to who backs these policies then connect the dots.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don't think the average person realizes how near we are to being completely, finished.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, when a court rules there are no rules and that identity amounts to right and wrong - the new rules - that's pretty much crossing from Jefferson to Orwell. From here on in there are no rules and it's every identity for itself.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
An illegal alien lawyer -- I thought they only did jobs that Americans wouldn't do. POS.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
He has years of experience in evading the consequences of laws so he should make a fine lawyer. Obama's amnesty this year will wipe his slate clean and fix his parking tickets.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Court rules there is no such thing as law."

I panicked when I didn't have any money and broke into a car and stole the radio. I lied eleventy kazillion times in other panic attacks. Otherwise, when I'm not breaking the law or lying, my morals are unassailable. I'm glad I found the good judges in this white supremacy. Now I am free to practice the law there isn't.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV; I am given to understand that California has the highest incidence of lawsuits against lawyers for professional malpractice. And that while it is not required by the State Bar of California for lawyers to carry Lawyer Professional Liability Insurance, it is required to disclose whether or not one carries the insurance in engagement letters to clients.

If you were a company that wrote professional liability insurance for lawyers; how eager would you be to offer coverage to an attorney whose admitted and testified to record includes a number of specific violations of Federal and state law, the Federal violation being ongoing?

And to be honest, how eager would any rational potential client be to hire this felon to represent him/her?

Subotai Bahadur
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's like "Alice's Restaurant" come true - "Are you moral enough to be a lawyer in California?" ROFL.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
This "judge", the "DREAM Bar Association", and the California legislature are enemies of the United States and should be treated as such. At minimum, they should be exiled to Mexico, and seek to practice law there.

If politicians cannot respect the sovereignty of the nation they're supposed to serve, they are not fit for any purpose beyond chum or compost.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
A citizen with 50 years of superior legal ability from another state may not practice in California, they do not recognize such a person.

But someone who broke and entered the country, stole an identity and gamed the system...is worthy of recognition and rights denied to those who actually...follow the law and believe in it.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
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