News / USA

California Ruling on Undocumented Lawyer Gives Hope to Many

California Ruling on Undocumented Lawyer Gives Hope to Undocumented Residentsi
X
January 09, 2014 11:36 PM
The California Supreme Court cleared the way last week for an undocumented immigrant named Sergio Gargia to be licensed as a lawyer. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, the ruling comes amid a national debate over illegal immigration -- and gives hope to other undocumented residents who entered the country as children
Mike O'Sullivan
The California Supreme Court cleared the way last week for an undocumented immigrant named Sergio Garcia to be licensed as a lawyer. The ruling comes amid a national debate over illegal immigration, and gives hope to undocumented residents who entered the country as children.

The ruling, made possible by a recent act of the California legislature, means Sergio Garcia can practice law, despite his undocumented status.

Law professor Niels Frenzen of the University of Southern California says the state court ruling is narrow.

“It does not address any other professional licenses.  It does not address any other type of government benefits," said Frenzen.

And it does not allow Garcia to work as an employee of a law firm, but Frenzen says he can work for clients as an independent lawyer.

Garcia, now 36,  tells VOA's Spanish service that his case has wider relevance.

"My case opens the door for many young people, not just immigrants or the undocumented, who are frustrated with an education system that the government, I think, has abandoned," said Garcia.

For 21-year-old Luis Antezana, the ruling is good news.  He came to the United States with his parents at age seven, and realized in high school that he is undocumented.

“Finally, something good.  Good things are happening," said Antezana.

Luis is covered under the Obama administration program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which gave him a work permit and a two-year respite from deportation.

Sergio Garcia was not eligible because he was over age 30, the upper age limit for applicants.  The program was announced in June 2012, and by late August of last year, U.S. officials had approved more than 450,000 applications.

But Luis and others like him are barred from getting educational loans insured by the federal government.  He received a private scholarship for undocumented students at California State University, Los Angeles.  He is active in student government and hopes to become a lawyer to help remedy the problems of the undocumented.

“... all the disparities that happen to a lot of people, and it finally hit me.  I said, I have got to do things to change things for myself, for people who in my position, and for future children, not to go through what I am going through," he said.

Law professor Niels Frenzen says the California ruling does not set a precedent.

“But it is certainly a persuasive decision, a decision that other state supreme courts can look to for guidance," he said.

The states of Florida and New York are also considering cases of undocumented law school graduates who hope to be licensed as lawyers, as the nation wrestles with questions surrounding its undocumented residents.  Their number is estimated at more than 11 million.

You May Like

Video Video Claims to Show Shi'ite Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

While not yet independently confirmed, brutal killing already has gotten attention of Islamic State followers on social media More

After Six Years, Little Change for Niger Delta's Former Militants

Nigerians who laid down arms in exchange for government amnesty subsidies fear program may end with upcoming presidential elections More

Vietnam Pushes for More Educated Drivers to Curb Road Deaths

Transportation officials hope that making a greater effort to get drivers to learn the rules of the road will reduce fatal crashes More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planeti
X
George Putic
March 04, 2015 8:51 PM
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More