For First Time in California, Undocumented Immigrant Sworn in as Lawyer

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The first undocumented immigrant allowed to practice law in California was sworn in at the capitol Saturday.

“The American dream is still alive and well and you can still make a reality of it if you work hard for it,” said Sergio Garcia.

Garcia came to the United States with his family when he was an infant. He returned to Mexico during his childhood to live with his mother, and has been back in the United States since he was seventeen years old.

“The uncertainty of not knowing when the decision will come down. I think that’s the hardest part: not knowing when,” Garcia said.

He was admitted to UC Berkeley and Stanford, but could not attend on account of his undocumented status.

“Today, California sends a clear message to the rest of the nation,” Garcia said.

Garcia eventually attended law school and passed the state bar exam, only to find out two weeks later that his license was invalid.

“I was very very glad to have the court rule and have a unanimous decision on January second,” Garcia said.

The Supreme Court made the ruling after Governor Jerry Brown signed a measure, allowing undocumented immigrants to practice law in California.

Garcia said he hopes his story sets a precedent for other states to follow.

“I hope that my case doesn’t only inspire kids in my situation. I hope it inspires the nation as a whole, and I think it has,” Garcia said.

Nicole Comstock filed this report. 

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