SACRAMENTO (Reuters) – A California bill to let undocumented immigrants become lawyers passed its last legislative hurdle on Thursday and will be sent to Governor Jerry Brown for his signature.
The legislation was prompted by the case of an undocumented Mexican immigrant, Sergio Garcia, who was brought to the United States as a baby and later graduated from a California law school. He has won the support of the State Bar of California and state Attorney General Kamala Harris in his quest to be admitted to practice law, over the objections of the U.S. Justice Department.
The bill passed the state Assembly on Thursday in the waning hours of the legislative session. It would authorize the California Supreme Court, which finalizes applications to become licensed as a lawyer in the state, to admit qualified applicants regardless of their immigration status.
“By the grace of God, I was born on this side of the border,” said Democratic Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, who introduced the bill in the Assembly. Were it not for that accident of fate, Gonzalez said, she might have been prevented from becoming a lawyer.
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