Qualified illegal immigrants seek rights to practice law – USATODAY.com
Can DREAMers be licensed to practice law? According to USA Today, that is the question that the California Supreme Court is expected to rule on regarding a case involving an undocumented U.S. law school graduate who entered the U.S. when only 17 months old.
After graduating from law school, the prospective attorney applies to be licensed to practice law with one of the U.S. state bars. The applicant must take the bar exam and undergo an investigation to see if she is fit to practice law.
Whether one is fit to practice law usually involves determining whether the person has a history of substance abuse, inability to handle funds, dishonesty, etc. Does the fact that a person is here in violation of our immigration laws because his parents brought him in when he was 17 months indicate that he is not fit to practice law? In my opinion, no.
The article seems to imply that licensing someone to practice law gives him authorization to work. However, the license to practice law is just a license. The question of legal authorization to work as a licensed attorney is an entirely separate matter that is governed by our federal immigration laws not our state licensing laws.
This is where the DREAM Act and the�recently announced deferred action for DREAMers�comes in. It would allow law school graduates who become licensed to practice law and entered the U.S. at a young age the ability to work as attorneys.
Hopefully, it would also increase the number of minorities in the legal profession. On more than one occasion, I have gone to court and the judge or another attorney asks me if I am the interpreter because they are not used to seeing a Latino lawyer. My hope is that we get more used to it, and the DREAM Act would go a long way to making that a reality.