- United States
United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has strictly opposed the attempt by the undocumented immigrant to be allowed to practice litigation in the U.S and advised the California Supreme Court not to allow such a practice, despite of the fact that the state Bar and attorney generals support Garcia’s bid. DOJ has released a brief to the California Supreme Court on Thursday, August 2nd, 2012, about the Department’s views on allowing illegal immigrant lawyers to practice in the state.
The 17 page Brief told the court that the U.S law regarded Garcia as an ineligible immigrant for practicing litigation in the country. “The enforcement of the federal provisions governing employment by aliens is a responsibility of the federal government, and is not the proper subject of state court proceedings, particularly in the context of state licensing. Instead, the only question before the Court is whether Mr. Garcia meets the criteria for admission to the bar under state and federal law because he is not an eligible alien … and thus does not satisfy a condition set out in federal law, the bar application should be denied.”
The legal attorney of Garcia, Jerome Fishkin, said that both he and his client were not expecting such a rigid interpretation of the law from the DOJ. Fishkin said that they both were disappointed but the case is far from being over.
“We will continue to work for Sergio’s admission to practice law in California and his goal of obtaining U.S citizenship.” Said Fishkin.
Fishkin also said that the California Business and professions code does contain a provision that allows license to lawyers to practice law in the state, regardless of their immigration status. “It is an escape hatch,” Fishkin said, “for law applications and law admission for people who are not qualified to have Social Security number, which essentially are undocumented and certain out of country immigrants.”
He accused the Justice Department of failing to elaborate the reasons for inapplicability of this provision in Garcia’s case in their Brief.
Others supporting Garcia’s bid to legally practice Law in the country had said that if the law forbade any law firm or government agency to employ illegal immigrants, they still can work with their own clients as independent contractors.
The DOJ denied any such possibility stating that the law contains punitive measures against any client who employs illegal immigrants who does not have authorization to work in the U.S.
Bar association spokesperson that had also supported Garcia declined to comment on the DOJ’s Brief. However, the examiners of the State Bar association and the California attorney general’s office still declared their support for Garcia.
Garcia said that he did not expect his immigration status to come in the way of his professional dream of becoming a civil litigator until the State Bar association started demanding immigration status verifications of the applicants before his bar exam.
Garcia had applied to become a member of the California Bar association to be able to practice law in the state. Although he had passed the Bar exam, his case was forwarded by the California Supreme Court to the U.S Department of Justice as the former thought the latter’s expertise to be more relevant in the case.
Tags: Illegal immigrant, Immigraiton, minor illegal immigrants, Sergio Garcia, undocumented immigrant, United States, US Immigration, US immigration policies