With Obama’s announcement last week regarding deferred action for certain illegal immigrants who came to this country as children, debates are flaring about the rights and/or lack thereof of children of illegal immigrants. The State Bar of California has filed an argument with the state Supreme Court that an illegal immigrant should be allowed to receive his law license.
Law License for Illegal Immigrant?
First off, I will tell you that I feel for anyone going through the process of going to law school, taking the professional responsibility exam, studying for and then taking the bar exam, and filing the moral character application. The countless hours of studying, the countless pages read and the many sleepless nights are not for the wary.
Now, with that said, the concept of an illegal immigrant receiving a law license was interesting. Interesting because I was not sure at first how this could even be possible. However, the State Bar argues that Sergio Garcia, who is now 35, has met all of the criteria necessary to become licensed and his legal status in the county should not matter.
The caveat is that while Mr. Garcia qualifies to take the oath and uphold his duties as an attorney, his law license is in no way a path to lawful employment. In fact, there are many foreign students who attend law school and obtain their law license but cannot practice law in this country. What they do with their license is up to them, and their employment within the United States is an issue they must tackle with the federal government, not the state.
Immigration Is not Black and White
Mr. Garcia’s father is a naturalized citizen of the United States and Garcia's own permanent residency visa application has been pending since 1995. He probably could not get legal at the same time as his father because he was over the age of 21. That meant that instead of being included in his father's petition, his father would have to file a separate petition for him. Those petitions take a long time (Garcia's petition has been pending since 1995). Also, being that he is over 30 years of age, he will not qualify for relief under Obama’s deferred action and his permanent residency case could take 5 more years.
Basically, in my opinion, because the immigration system is broken and convoluted Mr. Garcia is a victim making the most of his situation. His father was able to go through legal means to obtain his residency and subsequent citizenship, he more than likely aged out of that petition. He has not been here standing still,he has tried to do the right thing. He has taken the initiative to be an educated and productive member of society, despite his personal struggles.
What do you think? Should Sergio Garcia be allowed to obtain his law license?
How do you think the state Supreme Court will decide?
To learn more about Immigration law, click here.
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