California Supreme Court will decide if an undocumented immigrant should be allowed to practice law even though his immigration status makes employing him illegal. That is the case of Sergio Garcia, an undocumented immigrant who passed California’s law exam but was denied admission to the state bar.
California Attorney General Kamala Harris filed a brief with the court on Wednesday in support of Garcia’s application. The court is also seeking input from the U.S. Department of Justice, according to The Associated Press.
“Admitting Garcia to the bar would be consistent with state and federal policy that encourages immigrants, both documented and undocumented, to contribute to society,” Harris wrote in her brief to the Supreme Court.
Garcia’s attorney, Jerome Fishkin, said his client deserves the opportunity to practice law.
“Sergio is poster boy for the sort of immigrant that made this country great. He comes here, he works hard, he’s not been on welfare, not taken student loans and worked his way all the way through,” Fishkin said.
The 35-year-old Garcia, who lives in Durham, does not like to be referred to as an undocumented immigrant. While he said he came unlawfully to the U.S. as a toddler with his parents, he applied for legal residency in 1995. His application is still pending 17 years later, after his father already became a citizen and his mother a permanent resident.