California’s Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that illegal immigrants who meet the state’s requirements to practice law must be granted law licenses, according to NBC News.
California is the first state to allow illegal immigrants to obtain law licenses, though two similar cases are currently pending in New York and Florida.
Sergio Garcia, an illegal immigrant who came to the United States from Mexico as a child, wishes to practice law in California and brought the case to court in May of 2012. He has been attempting to become a legal resident for years, having begun the process for naturalization at the age of 17 in 1995. He is scheduled to get a green card in 2019.
“I’m speechless, tired, relieved,” Garcia said when the ruling was issued. “I’m glad it’s over.”
Governor Jerry Brown signed a law allowing illegal immigrants to obtain law licenses on October 15, 2013; the law was pending as the California Supreme Court considered the case.
California’s legislature passed several laws last year granting greater rights and privileges for immigrants. Besides law licenses, the state assembly approved a bill in September allowing illegal immigrants to get driver’s licenses. Governor Brown vetoed a law that would have allowed non-citizens to serve jury duty.