Calif Bar weighs illegal immigrant’s application
A California State Bar panel is considering whether an illegal immigrant who passed the exam to practice law should be admitted despite his status.
The case of Mexican-born Sergio Garcia could be the first reviewed by the panel since California began asking applicants about their immigration status in 2008, the Daily Journal reported Wednesday.
Garcia attended college in Chico and passed the Bar exam in July 2009. Since then, he has been waiting to see if he can be admitted even though he is an illegal immigrant. He now works as a paralegal.
Garcia was brought to the United States by his parents when he was 17 months old, said Erica Tomlinson, his immigration attorney. He has been sponsored for legal status by a relative, but the process could take another five to 15 years.
“It’s not a fun way to live,” Garcia told the legal newspaper.
The panel could review Garcia’s case as soon as this week to decide whether to certify him. If certified, the state Supreme Court would subsequently decide whether to accept him.
Several attorneys who focus on ethics said they were unaware of such cases in the past, but Garcia’s may not be the only one pending. Non-citizens can be admitted to the Bar, and in the past some illegal immigrants were approved without disclosing their status, the Journal reported.