Garcia gets thumbs-up

Chico man granted long-awaited law license

Sergio Garcia, the local law-school graduate who’s been trying to get his license to practice since 2012, got off to a good new year. On Jan. 2, the state Supreme Court ruled that Garcia (pictured), an undocumented Mexican immigrant who came to America as an infant and returned as a teen, can practice law. Garcia, who applied for a yet-to-be-received immigrant visa in 1995, passed the bar exam in 2012 after graduating from Cal Northern School of Law.

In a unanimous decision, the court ruled to allow qualified applicants, regardless of immigration status, to join the state bar. This counters a federal law that prohibits the expenditure of public funds—including professional licensing by state agencies—for the benefit of undocumented immigrants.

California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye wrote: “[W]e conclude that the fact that an undocumented immigrant’s presence in this country violates federal statutes is not itself a sufficient or persuasive basis for denying undocumented immigrants, as a class, admission to the State Bar.”