With immigration, state and federal officials walk a fine line between being humane while still trying to enforce the laws. While federal immigration officials have given some young undocumented individuals the opportunity to work and live in the U.S. without fear of deportation, they say that one California man cannot get his law license.
Sergio Garcia, a Mexican-born immigrant without legal status completed law school and passed the state bar, but he was denied admission and his license.
Garcia was brought illegally into the U.S. as a toddler and applied for citizenship in 1995.
In their opinion of Garcia’s case, the DOJ argued that federal law forbids people, who do not have legal status, such as HB-1 or other temporary work visa, from certain rights such as a state license unless the state grants those benefits.
But Garcia’s attorney, Jerome Fishkin says the state does have a provision in its business and professions code which allows law licenses despite the applicant’s immigration status. Even though Garcia cannot work for a state or independent law agency, his family and immigration attorney assert that he could work as an independent contractor.
The DOJ however disagrees, citing that it is illegal for anyone to knowingly employ an immigrant without work authorization and they could face legal problems it they do so.
The Obama Administration recently granted deferred action for young immigrants under the age of 30, but Garcia is 35 so he won’t be eligible for work visas under this new policy.
Legal immigration is a complex and multi-step process, this can be discouraging, but with the guidance and expertise of an immigration attorney this process can be simplified while increasing the chances of becoming legally recognized.