Immigration

Sergio Garcia's Fight to Practice Law as an Illegal Immigrant

Sergio Garcia was born in Mexico, and at just 17 months old, his parents brought him to the United States. Garcia moved back and forth between the U.S. and Mexico until he was 17 years old, at which point he was able to come to California permanently. He was awarded a green card then because his father was able to get one, but 19 years later, he’s still waiting to get one of his own.

According to NPR, Garcia is an undocumented illegal immigrant. Despite that status, he has worked his way through college and law school, as well as passing the California Bar Exam.

Unfortunately, regardless of his schooling, the state refuses to grant him a law license because of the fact that he is illegal. Garcia has taken his case to court.

Now 36, Garcia says that enough is enough. He feels that he should be able to practice law in the country that he loves.

“It’s been four years since I passed the Bar,” says Garcia. “You only live once and I only have a limited amount of time.”

Many question why almost two decades have passed and Garcia has yet to receive his green card, while others feel strongly that when it comes down to it, the bottom line is that he is an illegal immigrant.

The State Bar of California along with the California Attorney General are together backing Garcia in his efforts to obtain a law license regardless of legal status. Still, Garcia faces much opposition in his fight, including some from Larry DeSha, a former prosecutor with the State Bar.

“He can’t say he is going to fulfill his duties as attorney when one of those duties is to uphold all federal laws, when he's here illegally,” says DeSha.

Currently, Sergio Garcia is preparing for a hearing with the California Supreme Court on Wednesday, and is expecting to hear a decision within the next three months. For now, Garcia is working as motivational speaker, and looking forward to his day in court.

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