This is beyond illogical
(NBC News) — An undocumented immigrant who has met the requirements to practice law in California must be given a legal license, the state’s Supreme Court ruled Thursday in a landmark case that could set a national precedent.
The California Supreme Court ruled that Sergio Garcia, who first came to the United States from Mexico unlawfully as a child, must receive his license — the first decision of its kind in the U.S. that could affect other undocumented immigrants who hope to follow in his footsteps. Two similar cases are pending in Florida and New York.
“I’m speechless, tired, relieved,” Garcia said moments after the ruling came down. “I’m glad it’s over.”
The court case dates back to May 2012, when the justices said they would hear the case. Garcia won initial backing from the State Bar of California, which determined that he had met the rules for admission and his lack of legal status in the United States should not automatically disqualify him. But the Justice Department initially filed briefs saying Garcia should not get a license – a stance it later backed away from. Garcia also got support from the California General Assembly, which passed a law last fall saying undocumented immigrants like him could get their law licenses. Gov. Jerry Brown signed it into law, but the matter was pending before the court, and the justices did not dismiss the case.
“The court has been extremely, extremely conservative,” Garcia said. “We fought hard. We had incredible victories last year [with the California General Assembly].”
Still, he said, Thursday’s ruling “could have gone either way.”
“I never in my life imagined it would take me longer to win my right to practice than it took to actually get my degree,” Garcia said. “I’m glad California is moving forward and I think we’re setting a good example for the rest of the country.”