Early in 2013 we wrote about an undocumented immigrant's effort to obtain an attorney's license in California. It now appears that his case will be heard at the California Supreme Court.
Despite not being a U.S. citizen, the 36-year-old man has already obtained his law degree. Though born in Mexico, he has spent the majority of his life in the United States. He did receive a portion of his education in Mexico, but he returned to California in 1994 to be with his family and to graduate from high school.
Though the majority of his family members have obtained citizenship, this individual's bid for citizenship has been particularly slow. Because of his age, it is possible that he will not be able to obtain a green card until around 2019. He understandably does not wish to wait that long to obtain an attorney's license.
Like so many immigrants, he is receiving resistance to his immigration requests. Though he has had a number of supporters, the Justice Department feel it would violate federal immigration laws to provide an undocumented immigrant with a professional license. Thus the case being tried at the California Supreme Court could involve conflicts between federal law and the rights of a state to grant an attorney's license.
Employment immigration requests of this kind are vital for immigrants seeking to remain in our country. Without access to professional licenses or other employment opportunities, these individuals may have nowhere to turn. On the other hand, allowing for such opportunities may also result in immigrants making a positive contribution to our local economies.
Source: Contra Costa Times, "Undocumented immigrant's bid for California law license heads to court," Howard Mintz, Sep. 3, 2013