Updating a recent blog post regarding illegal immigrants and their ability to practice law, the California State Bar has suggested to the state Supreme Court that illegal immigrants should be granted law licenses.
The bar’s suggestion does not necessarily mean the Supreme Court will rule in favor of 35-year-old Sergio Garcia, the illegal immigrant who graduated from law school and passed the bar on his first try, but it is a major endorsement regarding this employment immigration issue.
Should the Supreme Court side with Garcia and grant him a law license, their decision would set a precedent.
The California State Bar pointed out in their statement that even if illegal immigrants are granted law licenses, it does not mean they can become employed nor does it mean they are on a path to citizenship. “No reasonable employer would assume that the issuance of a law license to an individual relieves them of their obligation to verify employment eligibility,” they said.
But, independent contractors are unaffected by such rules — and illegal immigrants with law licenses could work as independent contractors or on a pro bono basis.
Garcia’s case is still a bit convoluted, but the endorsement by the California State Bar is a positive step towards illegal immigrants garnering employment rights — even if the ultimate ruling is not yet official. California legislators have also favored illegal immigrants before: in 2005, they passed a law that permits those with law licenses to apply for employment without providing Social Security cards.
Source: Los Angeles Times, “California State Bar argues for law licenses for the undocumented,” Maura Dolan, June 19, 2012