BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  ACR 167
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          Date of Hearing:  August 16, 2012

                           ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY
                                Bob Wieckowski, Chair
                    ACR 167 (Alejo) - As Amended: August 14, 2012
                                           
          SUBJECT  :  ADMISSION TO STATE BAR

           KEY ISSUE  :  SHOULD THE LEGISLATURE RECOGNIZE THE ACHIEVEMENT OF 
          STATE BAR APPLICANT SERGIO GARCIA AND RESOLVE THAT, WHERE THE 
          STATE BAR DETERMINES THAT AN APPLICANT IS OTHERWISE ELIGIBLE FOR 
          ADMISSION, AN APPLICANT'S IMMIGRATION STATUS SHOULD NOT BE THE 
          DETERMINING FACTOR IN DECIDING WHETHER TO APPROVE A STATE BAR 
          LAW LICENSE IN CALIFORNIA?

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  As currently in print this measure is keyed 
          non-fiscal.

                                      SYNOPSIS
          
          This measure commends State Bar applicant Sergio Garcia and the 
          State Bar regarding his pending application for admission to the 
          Bar, and declares that where the State Bar determines that an 
          applicant is otherwise eligible for admission, an applicant's 
          immigration status should not be the determining factor in 
          deciding whether to approve a State Bar law license in 
          California.  
           
           SUMMARY  :  Commends State Bar applicant Sergio Garcia and the 
          State Bar regarding his application for admission to the Bar, 
          and declares that where the State Bar determines that an 
          applicant is otherwise eligible for admission, an applicant's 
          immigration status should not be the determining factor in 
          deciding whether to approve a State Bar law license in 
          California.  Specifically,  this resolution  :  

          1)States that Sergio C. Garcia was born in Villa Jimenez, 
            Mexico, in 1977, and was reportedly first brought into the 
            United States by his parents, without inspection by 
            immigration officials, when he was 17 months old, and, after 
            leaving the United States around the age of eight or nine, 
            entered the Unites States again when he was 17 years old.  

          2)States that Sergio C. Garcia's father, who was a lawful 
            permanent resident at the time, and who has since gained full 








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            citizenship status, filed a petition for an immigrant visa for 
            his son on November 18, 1994, which was approved in January of 
            1995.

          3)Observes that in the past 17 years, while waiting for his visa 
            to become available, Sergio C. Garcia, in an undocumented 
            status, went to college, attended law school, and passed the 
            California Bar Examination.

          4)Notes that the Committee of Bar Examiners of the State Bar of 
            California, having reviewed Sergio C. Garcia's application, 
            found that Mr. Garcia met all of the necessary requirements 
            for admission to the State Bar of California, and, on November 
            9, 2011, based on that conclusion, submitted Mr. Garcia's 
            name, on motion to the California Supreme Court, as an 
            applicant certified for attorney licensure.

          5)Finds that on May 16, 2012, the California Supreme Court 
            issued an Order to Show Cause to the Committee of Bar 
            Examiners as to why its pending motion for the admission of 
            Sergio C. Garcia to the State Bar of California should be 
            granted.

          6)States that with the passage of the California DREAM Act, 
            which allows certain youth without proper immigration 
            documentation to apply for financial aid, California has moved 
            toward a policy of inclusion rather than exclusion of 
            undocumented immigrants brought into the United States by 
            their parents as children, regardless of their authorization 
            to work.

          7)Observes that federal executive policy echoes this policy of 
            inclusion, as reflected in the memorandum of June 15, 2012 by 
            the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security entitled, 
            "Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion with Respect to 
            Individuals Who Came to the United States as Children," which 
            establishes a policy of deferring removal proceedings for 
            eligible undocumented students at the discretion of the 
            Department of Homeland Security and allowing eligible 
            undocumented students to apply for work permits, and finds 
            that the Secretary's memorandum stresses that the United 
            States immigration laws were not designed to remove productive 
            young people who have contributed to our country in 
            significant ways to countries they may not even be familiar 
            with.








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          8)Resolves that the Legislature commends Sergio C. Garcia for 
            his hard work and success in satisfying all state requirements 
            for admission to the State Bar of California.

          9)Further resolves that the Legislature believes that where the 
            State Bar determines that an applicant is otherwise eligible 
            for admission, an applicant's immigration status should not be 
            the determining factor in deciding whether to approve a State 
            Bar law license in California.

          10)Further resolves that the Legislature commends the State Bar 
            of California for its thorough review of Sergio C. Garcia's 
            application, its motion for Sergio C. Garcia's admission to 
            the State Bar of California, and its excellent and 
            comprehensive review of the law in the brief filed with the 
            California Supreme Court.

           EXISTING LAW  establishes the State Bar and authorizes the State 
          Bar to recommend applicants for admission.  (Bus. and Prof. Code 
          section 6000 et seq.)

           COMMENTS :  In support of the bill the author states:

               California has been moving toward a policy of inclusion 
               rather than exclusion of undocumented immigrants brought 
               into the United States by their parents as children, 
               regardless of their federal authorization to work.  
               California legislation and policy supports an applicant's 
               admission to the State Bar without regard to citizenship or 
               residency.  ACR 167 - the State Bar DREAM Resolution - 
               declares that the California Legislature believes an 
               applicant's immigration status should not be the 
               determining factor in deciding whether to approve a State 
               Bar law licensing in California.  It's an important step 
               forward in our commitment to inclusion.           

          The Committee of Bar Examiners of the California State Bar is 
          the statutory body that investigates moral character 
          applications as part of the overall certification process for 
          admission to the Bar.  Part of the moral character process is to 
          ask if the applicant is legally in the country.  This 
          information is disclosed to the California Supreme Court, which 
          determines whether to grant admission, apparently on the basis 
          that persons who are not in the country legally are not 








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          permitted to work.  The California Supreme Court in Raffaelli v. 
          Committee of Bar Examiners, 7 Cal. 3d 288 (1972) ruled that 
          formal citizenship is not a requirement to practice law.  It has 
          apparently not determined whether the lack of work authorization 
          by undocumented immigrants disqualifies them from admission - 
          although work authorization is arguably an issue separate from 
          whether an applicant is entitled to admission to the Bar, even 
          if only for the sake of recognizing the applicant's achievement. 
           

          This issue is presented by the pending application of Sergio 
          Garcia, who is reportedly an undocumented immigrant whom the 
          State Bar has determined is qualified for admission.  This 
          resolution commends Mr. Garcia for his hard work and success in 
          satisfying all state requirements for admission to the Bar, 
          commends the State Bar for its thorough review of Garcia's 
          application, its motion for admission, and its excellent and 
          comprehensive review of the law in the brief filed with the 
          California Supreme Court, and resolves that the Legislature 
          believes that where the State Bar determines that an applicant 
          is otherwise eligible for admission, an applicant's immigration 
          status should not be the determining factor in deciding whether 
          to approve a State Bar law license in California.

           ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT  :  Among other supporters, Latino 
          Environmental Justice Advocates argues:

               Sergio C. Garcia's story is an American story that clearly 
               reflects the intent of the June 15, 2012, memorandum by the 
               Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, which 
               stresses that the United States immigration laws are not 
               designed to remove or exclude productive young people who 
               have contributed to our country in significant ways.

               Sergio C. Garcia's story embodies this intent: Brought to 
               the U.S. as an infant, and subsequently approved in January 
               of 1995 for an immigrant visa as a teenager, Garcia has 
               waited over 17 years for his visa to become available.  
               Meanwhile, Garcia, remaining in an undocumented status, 
               went to college, attended law school, and passed the 
               California Bar Examination. As such, the Committee of Bar 
               Examiners of the State Bar of California, having reviewed 
               Sergio C. Garcia's application, found that Mr. Garcia met 
               all of the necessary requirements for admission to the 
               State Bar of California, and, on November 9, 2011, based on 








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               that conclusion, submitted Mr. Garcia's name, on motion to 
               the California Supreme Court, as an applicant certified for 
               attorney licensure.

               With the passage of the California DREAM Act, California 
               has moved toward a policy of inclusion rather than 
               exclusion of undocumented immigrants and as stated the 
               developing federal executive echoes this policy of 
               inclusion.  The State of California and all Californians 
               will greatly benefit by work and success of inspirational 
               young people such as Sergio C. Garcia.

           REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION  :   

           Support 
           
          Latino Environmental Justice Advocates
          Latino Seaside Merchants Association
          Latino Water Use Coalition
          Monterey County La Raza Lawyers Association

           Opposition 
           
          None on file
           

          Analysis Prepared by  :  Kevin G. Baker / JUD. / (916) 319-2334