Sergio Garcia Will Become California’s First Publicly Known Undocumented Lawyer

Garcia will become one of the state's newest attorneys five years after passing the California state bar.

By Julianne Hing Jan 02, 2014

On Thursday morning the California Supreme Court ruled that the state bar ought to admit Sergio Garcia, an undocumented immigrant who graduated from law school and passed the state bar exam in 2009. The ruling paves the way for Garcia to become the state’s first publicly known undocumented immigrant licensed to practice law. 

"This one is for all of you who dare to dream and by doing so change the world! Love you all! History was made today!" Garcia posted on his Facebook wall after the ruling’s announcement, the New York Daily News reported.

The California Supreme Court announced its decision a day after a new state law went into effect which satisfies a federal requirement that state legislatures expressly give their blessing to grant such licenses to unauthorized immigrants. The Obama administration has tried to block efforts to grant Garcia admittance to the bar.

Other undocumented attorney applicants have petitioned their states for similar consideration. The Florida Supreme Court ruled against Jose Godinez-Samperico’s case in April of last year, and the New York Supreme Court’s appellate division is considering the case of Cesar Vargas, a law school graduate who passed the bar in his home state of New York.

Read the California Supreme Court’s ruling in full here (PDF).