The Corner

Practicing Law While Illegal

Following up on yesterday’s post on the admission of an illegal alien to the practice of law in California, today’s Times story had a few interesting aspects. The newly minted lawyer, Sergio Garcia (no, not the golfer from Spain) had this to say: “I can finally fulfill my dream and also leave behind a legacy so that an undocumented student 20 or 30 years from now will take it for granted that they can be an attorney.” This confirms the fear that this case is not about his individual situation nor merely a short-term expedient until Congress (advocates hope) passes an amnesty; it’s part of a strategy to permanently eliminate the distinction between legal and illegal immigration.

What’s more, the court seemed to suggest that being an illegal alien is an identity which may not result in discrimination. From the Times:

The court went on to suggest that immigration status should not be considered any differently from, say, race or religion.

“We conclude that the fact that an undocumented immigrant’s presence in this country violates federal statutes is not itself a sufficient or persuasive basis for denying undocumented immigrants, as a class, admission to the state bar,” Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye wrote in her opinion. “The fact that an undocumented immigrant is present in the United States without lawful authorization does not itself involve moral turpitude or demonstrate moral unfitness so as to justify exclusion from the state bar.”

Immigration expansionists sometimes complain when we say they support open borders. Though their disclaimers are unconvincing, most of them (other than the Wall Street Journal) at least deny it, saying “Of course a nation has the right to control its borders, but . . .” Yet in this case (as with driver’s licenses, deportation, and other matters) the goal of the other side is indeed to prevent the federal government from being able to limit immigration at all. They’ll concede security or criminal concerns (though their approach even there is frivolous) but the explicit agenda of the Chamber of Commerce/La Raza/Cato Institute/ACLU/Haley Barbour/Chuck Schumer/Grover Norquist/Nancy Pelosi axis really is unlimited immigration. Rather than arguing over fences and whatnot, this is where the immigration debate should be focused: Unlimited immigration — yes or no? Your answer to that question answers most other questions regarding the issue.

Mark Krikorian, a nationally recognized expert on immigration issues, has served as Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) since 1995.

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