CNN reports No green card? No problem -- undocumented immigrant can practice law, court says.
Sergio Garcia's parents brought him to the United States from Mexico nearly two decades ago. He's been waiting for a green card ever since.My take: This person should not be in the US, should never have been allowed to go to college in the US without a Green Card, and should not be allowed to practice law.
But there's one thing the undocumented immigrant no longer has to wait for, according to a California Supreme Court ruling on Thursday: his law license.
Garcia can be admitted to California's state bar and legally practice as a lawyer there, the court ruled.
"How is Garcia supposed to uphold 'the laws of the United States' when he is, by his mere presence in this country, in violation of federal law?" CNN contributor Ruben Navarrette asks in an opinion column he wrote on the case in September. "How does he pledge to show respect for 'the courts of justice' when, for most of his life, he has lived here in defiance of the rule of law? And how can he claim that he won't 'mislead' a judge or judicial officer when living in the United States illegally requires deception on a daily basis?"
"With today's ruling, the California Supreme Court reaffirms the Committee of Bar Examiners' finding as not a political decision but rather one grounded in the law," California State Bar President Luis J. Rodriguez said in a written statement Thursday.
Case could set precedent
Critics have argued that giving Garcia a license wouldn't make sense. How can someone without legal status become licensed as a lawyer, whose job entails upholding the law?
Larry DeSha, former prosecutor for the State Bar of California, said Garcia shouldn't be given his law license because his immigration status would be in violation of a civil immigration statute and could affect his ability to represent his clients.
"In the immigration debate, we must separate the individual from the idea. The individual -- Garcia -- looks like a keeper. The idea -- that one who has lived most of his life outside the law can practice law -- is problematic," Navarrette wrote in his September column.
The Obama administration originally opposed Garcia's admission to the bar, saying that federal law demanded that legislation be enacted granting an undocumented immigrant the right to practice, according to a summary published by lawprofessors.typepad.com.
But the Justice Department backed off in November after California's governor signed a new law that did just that.
The bill, which passed in October and went into effect this week, allows the bar to admit "an applicant who is not lawfully present in the United States (who) has fulfilled the requirements for admission to practice law."
FOX News has a Video on Sergio Garcia that inquiring minds may wish to play.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock