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Can an Undocumented Immigrant Practice Law in America?

Can an Undocumented Immigrant Practice Law in AmericaSergio Garcia who arrived in the United States illegally, 20 years ago with his father, has now passed California bar on the first try. He is living in the United States as an undocumented immigrant. He has now asked the California Supreme Court to license him. The California Supreme Court justices are not willing to grant Garcia a law license as the undocumented immigrants, according to the federal laws, are ineligible for professional licenses.

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) says that undocumented immigrants must not be granted law license cards and granting them such licenses would violate the immigration laws of the country that prevents undocumented immigrants from receiving federal benefits.

The federal law prevents unauthorized residents from obtaining federal benefits that includes commercial and professional licenses. These residents, according to the US immigration laws, are ineligible for state issued identification documents and other licenses. Undocumented immigrants are ineligible for US citizenship and for legal status in the country.

President Obama adopted the deferred action program that permits certain undocumented youth who have clean criminal records and who meet few other requirements, to live, work, and study in the country for a two year period. Garcia who is 36, is ineligible for deferred action status. Garcia, completed his studies by working part-time in a grocery store.

Even if Garcia wins his law license, he will face obstacles. He may not be hired by law firms, as he is out of status. His status will also prevent him from taking up certain types of cases. Garcia’s father who is a US citizen, filed an immigrant petition for him and that petition was approved by the USCIS in 1995. He has to wait for more than 7 years to get his Green Card as the line for the citizens of Mexico is too long.

Garcia lives in the United States and he violates the country’s immigration laws by living here illegally. Hence he cannot practice law in the country, according to Larry DeSha, former State Bar prosecutor. However, people who support Garcia say that he deserves a law license. Garcia says that he will continue to fight until he becomes a California lawyer and that he will live his American Dream.

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