U.S. Law Center

Immigrants in California will now be allowed to become lawyers

Governor Jerry Brown has signed into law AB 1024 that in effect allows for undocumented immigrants to obtain a law degree in California.  One legislator emphasized how California has remained active in allowing immigrants to pursue their careers while the federal government has been slow to implement any new legislation.

The impetus for this signing came about due to an undocumented immigrant graduating from a California law school four years ago, passing the bar exam, meeting the requisite moral requirements, and then being denied his law license.  While this immigrant is excited about his own future, he is also happy for other undocumented immigrants facing similar circumstances.  The dream of becoming an attorney may now become a reality for many of these individuals.

There is hope that such a change will create a ripple effect across the entire nation and that it will put the federal government on notice.  There is also hope that this will bring into the law profession attorneys "with a different worldview."

Considering all that immigrants have had to face, earning a law degree represents an incredible effort on their part.  Yet allowing them to put in all of that effort while not being allowed to practice law can be seen as an unfair punishment.  More importantly, those undocumented immigrants are demonstrating their ability to practice in the legal profession also shows how much more these immigrants have to offer.

Seeing how immigration reform is not yet forthcoming, changes in our nation's immigration system will not likely be immediate.  Hopefully we may see other measures that will help immigrant workers pursue their dreams throughout the United States. 

Source: Fox News, "Will California Law Allowing Undocumented Immigrant Lawyers Have A Ripple Effect Across Country?" Ernesto Lopez, Oct. 15, 2013

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