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Undocumented Immigrant Granted Calif. Law License

Sergio Garcia had graduated law school and passed the bar but was denied a license because of his undocumented status

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    NBC Bay Area
    Sergio Garcia is seen in this file image.

    An immigrant unable to practice law because of his undocumented status has been granted a law license by California’s highest court Thursday, NBC News reports.

    Sergio Garcia took his case to the California Supreme Court in May. Oral arguments took place in September.

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    Sergio Garcia, an undocumented attorney, has met all the requirements to be a licensed attorney but he is currently unable to practice due to his undocumented status. Garcia is hoping for a favorable court ruling next Wednesday as his case makes it to the California Supreme Court. John Cadiz Klemack reports from Van Nuys for NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Aug. 27, 2013. (Published Tuesday, Aug 27, 2013)

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    Garcia, a law school graduate who passed the state bar, told NBC News that he is "speechless, tired, relieved," and is "glad it's over." 

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    The U.S. Department of Justice opposed allowing him a license because as an undocumented person he wasn’t allowed to receive any benefits, Garcia said in a statement. Garcia said the Court agreed with the assessment, but also stated that a law could be passed to allow him and others in his situation to be granted a law license.

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    A law passed seven days later allowing courts to grant a law license to an undocumented person who had met all the standard requirements. Gov. Jerry Brown signed the the bill on Oct. 5, 2013.

    The law went into effect on Jan. 1, 2014.

    The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles issued a statement after the ruling, saying the court's decision "bodes well for the future of the United States of America."

    "The Dreams of many became much closer to becoming a reality today that the California Supreme Court ruled in favor of young professionals, like Sergio Garcia, who have met every requirement in the book to practice their craft but happen to be undocumented immigrants," the statement said.