Immigration has been a hot button political topic recently. Millions of immigrants, some of whom have been living in the United States for years, are seeking citizenship and awaiting Congressional action that will have a huge impact on their futures.
In the struggle to gain long term legal residency in the U.S., many immigrants must turn to the courts. Few, however, have their cases end up in the highest courts, where decisions have far-reaching policy implications. One immigration case recently before the California Supreme Court concerns an immigrant who came to the United States two decades ago and now wants to secure a license to practice law.
Federal law stands in the way of licensure as a lawyer
Employment-based immigration is quite common. Most immigrants come to America in pursuit of new opportunities. Such was the case when Sergio Garcia originally moved to the United States twenty years ago with his family to pick almonds as field workers.
Over the years, Garcia got his education, paying his way through the Cal Northern School of Law by working at a grocery store and publishing a book. Garcia passed the California Bar Exam, and asked the state to award him his law license. But, there was one problem: Garcia is an undocumented immigrant, and federal law prohibits immigrants who reside in the U.S. illegally from being given professional licenses from government agencies or from other entities when the granting of licenses is financed by public funds.
Garcia was denied his law license, and brought his case all the way up to the California Supreme Court. Justices heard his arguments in early September, and have three months to issue a ruling. While several California state agencies supported Garcia in his pursuit of a law license, federal lawyers from the U.S. Department of Justice argued against his licensure.
If you have immigration problems, a lawyer can help argue your case
Garcia's situation is not unique. While not all immigrants want to be lawyers, there are thousands who want to reside in the United States legally without burdening the state - supporting themselves and their families as skilled, dedicated workers.
The outcome of Garcia's case is uncertain, but it still shows that there are legal avenues available to those immigrants who are struggling to live and work legally in the United States. If you are having immigration problems, or wish to seek citizenship, the right legal help can make all the difference in getting your case resolved quickly and successfully. Talk to a California immigration attorney today about your immigration concerns.