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Latino Daily News

Monday July 23, 2012

MALDEF Wants Undocumented Law Student to be Admitted to California Bar, Presents Legal Brief

MALDEF Wants Undocumented Law Student to be Admitted to California Bar, Presents Legal Brief

Photo: Sergio Garcia

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In the first case of its kind pending before the California Supreme Court, MALDEF, the Dream Bar Association, and a coalition of civil rights and legal groups have submitted an amicus brief in the matter of In re Sergio C. Garcia on Admission to support undocumented law school graduate Sergio C. Garcia’s application to join the California Bar.

Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF President and General Counsel, stated,

“After reviewing federal and state law, the California Supreme Court should conclude that barring admission on the basis of immigration status would violate established public policy and raise serious constitutional concerns.  We are therefore confident that the Court will recognize that the Bar’s recommendation to admit is well-supported and the right decision for California.”


Mr. Garcia’s immigrant visa petition was approved in 1995, and he has waited 17 years for the visa to become available.  In this time, Mr. Garcia has graduated from law school, cleared the State Bar’s moral character determination, and passed the rigorous, three-day California State Bar Examination.  Meeting all current requirements, he was recommended for Bar admission by the Committee of Bar Examiners of the State Bar of California.

MALDEF and the coalition have submitted an amicus brief on behalf of Mr. Garcia to make it clear that admission into the California State Bar is a fundamental power of the California Supreme Court and that federal law does not prevent the Court from admitting Mr. Garcia and other undocumented immigrant applicants who otherwise meet the State’s requirements.  Thus, Mr. Garcia and other undocumented law students who have met the qualifications to practice law should be admitted to the California State Bar.