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Immigrant without green card can be a lawyer, California court rules

Posted: January 3, 2014 - 12:05am

SAN FRANCISCO — The California Supreme Court ruled unanimously Thursday that a Mexican immigrant without a green card may be licensed as a lawyer, though his employment prospects will be limited.

In an opinion by Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, the state’s Supreme Court said a law passed late last year by the Legislature enabled the court to admit Sergio C. Garcia, 36, to the legal profession.

The Legislature passed the law after the court indicated in a hearing in September that it was bound by federal restrictions to deny Garcia a license. The federal law says immigrants without permission to be in the U.S. should be denied professional licenses unless state governments took action to override the ban.

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