Politics

California Bill Allows Undocumented Immigrants To Practice Law

| by Khier Casino

A bill was passed in California that will allow undocumented immigrants to have a license to practice law under one of eight immigration reform bills that were signed by Governor Jerry Brown on Saturday.

The case of an undocumented immigrant, Sergio Garcia, helped propel the ruling. He moved from Mexico to the U.S. as a child and graduated from a California law school later on. The State Bar of California and state Attorney General Kamala Harris have backed Garcia in his effort to become a practicing lawyer, despite the U.S. Justice Department’s opposition.

Eligible applicants can now be approved by the California Supreme Court, which ultimately decides the appeal of applicants to be licensed as a lawyer.

However, that is where Brown draws the line. California’s Democratic governor did not sign a bill on Monday that would have allowed jury service to non-citizen legal immigrants.

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The veto follows as California quickly expands both documented and undocumented immigrant rights, even as Congress unsuccessfully passes immigration reforms put on the floor by the White House.

“This bill would permit lawful permanent residents who are not citizens to serve on a jury,” Governor Brown said. “I don’t think that’s right.”

The vetoed bill was a contributing factor in more expansive immigration reform efforts in California, where Brown last week signed into law AB 60, allowing undocumented immigrants to legally apply for a driver’s license and practice law.

Brown forced Democratic lawmakers to go on a more moderate course on issues like taxes and the state budget. A proposed minimum wage hike would also be in danger of a veto until leaders in his party agreed to delay its implementation.

Other new laws prohibit police officers from arresting immigrants based on orders from the federal government excluding cases of severe crimes or convictions. Employers are also not permitted to strike back against workers based on their citizenship.