Sergio Garcia, an undocumented immigrant, was officially granted a law license by the California Supreme Court January 1, 2014, after challenging a federal law that barred undocumented immigrants from receiving professional licenses, unless state lawmakers passed a law stating otherwise. While the court was hearing arguments in the case, lawmakers in California passed a bill that was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, allowing undocumented immigrants to receive licenses.
"With tears in my eyes I'm happy to report I am being admitted to the bar, thank God!" said Garcia on his Facebook page, Jan. 2.
The California Supreme Court had to sign off on all new bar members, and when they found out about Garcia's status, they asked the Obama Justice Department to weigh in on the case, to which the Department said Garcia should not receive a license. From CNN.com:
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."
To see Garcia's story, watch, "Can an Undocumented Immigrant Become a U.S. Lawyer?"