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California Supreme Court Allows Undocumented Immigrant to Become Attorney

Jan 2, 2014

The California Supreme Court (file photo)
Credit Flickr user Steve Rhodes - Creative Commons /

The California Supreme Court has ruled an undocumented immigrant can be admitted to the state bar. As Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, the ruling is made possible by new California law.

The law allows the California Supreme Court to certify undocumented immigrants as practicing attorneys in the state. It was inspired by Sergio Garcia of Chico. He graduated from law school and passed the California bar, but was prohibited from practicing because he is not a U.S. citizen. Garcia says the law made it possible for him to practice. 

“For me it’s a wonderful thing and a wonderful show of solidarity between the people from the Assembly and the Senate at the state level who came together and overwhelmingly favored passing this law which passed in seven days,” says Garcia.

But Garcia could face challenges beyond the state court’s ruling. The Federal Department of Justice has opposed Garcia’s request to be licensed in California.