The Dream of Becoming a Lawyer

By: Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Commentary We all have dreams of what we will do in life—especially when we are young. When we graduate from college, we all have the belief and hope that we can fulfill our dreams. One young man named Sergio Garcia wants to make his dream come true. Recently he graduated from the Northern California School of Law, and he wants to become a practicing lawyer. Sounds acceptable enough. However, there is the complication—he is an undocumented person. Born in Mexico on March 1, 1977, he was brought to the United States by his parents when he was only 17 months old. He did not learn of his immigration status until much later, but for all due purposes he has lived his entire life in the United States. In 1994, he tried to adjust his immigration status, and that his request had been pending and approved. This is where the whole process has stopped, and so his immigration status remains uncertain to this day.

Despite all of this, he worked hard and studied hard to become a lawyer and he graduated. But because of his immigration status, he is unable to receive a license to practice law. The California Bar Association is pursuing his case to the California Supreme Court, arguing that despite his immigration status that he should be granted a license to practice law. This decision is now pending before the California Supreme Court. If the California Supreme Court rejects Garcia’s case, then the California Bar Association will move his case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. What is sad is that there are extenuating circumstances in this case. Sergio Garcia never made a choice to come to the United States as an undocumented person—his parents did. Garcia tried to adjust his status to become a legal permanent resident. However, U.S. immigration seems reluctant to do this. Despite all of this, Garcia has tried to make good of his life. Yet he has hit the brick wall of immigration, and is not being allowed to fulfill a dream of helping other people.

Sadly, Sergio Garcia’s case is far from unique. Every year, thousands of undocumented kids like him actually graduate from college. These kids in so many cases are valedictorians and if given a chance would make incredible contributions to this country. Unfortunately, like Garcia, they will be denied the chance because of their immigration status. In other words, we will have a growing number of good kids, scholars and even outstanding intellectuals being denied the basic right of work and making their contribution because of their immigration status. A country that denies their best and brightest over technicalities is one that will soon find itself in rapid decline. Worse, these kids may be forced to and work for countries and governments that are against the interests of the United States. What kind of future are we setting out for these smart kids? I hope very sincerely that Sergio Garcia will get his lawyer’s license and be able to fulfill his dream.

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