New York Lawyer's Legal Updates

What Happens When Undocumented Immigrants Obtain Law Degrees?

Author: Law Office of Alena Shautsova

California must deal with an immigration issue that other states may soon face as well. An undocumented immigrant, who came to the United States with his parents when he was 17 is now 35 and has obtained a law degree in California. His name is Sergio C. Garcia. The State Bar of California certified Garcia based on his passing the written test and mandatory morals exam.

California Supreme Court

Because the California Supreme Court routinely examines bar applications, his application came before the highest California court. And, the court's decision will set a precedent because it is the first time an undocumented immigrant has applied for a license to practice law in California.

The Pasadena Star-News reported that the California Supreme Court required the Committee of Bar Examiners to explain why the court should approve the license. Apparently, current California requirements for practicing law do not address immigration status. The court is asking pointed questions, such as whether a license grants the attorney the right to employment in California. An even broader question the court is asking is whether undocumented immigrants are eligible under state legislation for licenses in other professions, such as medicine.

Florida Supreme Court

Because the California Supreme Court routinely examines bar applications, his application came before the highest California court. And, the court's decision will set a precedent because it is the first time an undocumented immigrant has applied for a license to practice law in California.

Another similar case is before the Florida Bar Examiners, and this bar requires applicants to be citizens or have immigration status. Even so, the Florida Supreme Court makes the decision about who qualifies for the Florida bar, and it is still considering the case of Jose Godinez-Samperio. Jose graduated valedictorian of his high school class and had full scholarships for college and law school.

If you live in New York and have immigration issues you need help with, seek legal advice from a skilled New York immigration lawyer. An attorney can explain your rights. You also gain a legal advocate to protect your interests.

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