by.the.way.issue.6

Jose Antonio Vargas in an AP file photo.


by.the.way.1


THIS is the story of a 17-month-old baby from Mexico who grew up to write a success story of an illegal alien and became a lawyer in California by diligent work and equally diligent studies from high school to college to law school.

As told by New York Post columnist Linda Chavez, baby Sergio Garcia came to California with his Mexican migrant parents.

In 1986, at age 9, his family returned to Mexico and stayed there for eight years.

In 1994, at age 17, the family decided to return to California where Sergio, like his father, worked in the fields picking almonds, wrote Chavez in her column.

By this time, the father obtained legal status and he applied permanent resident status for his son.

Nineteen years later, Sergio has yet to become a legal resident.

After graduating from Cal Northern School of Law, he took the bar exam in 2013 and passed it with flying colors on his first try.

“This was a feat only about half of 2013 bar exam takers managed,” said Chavez.

But when he applied for admission to the state bar, the Supreme Court took pause.

A federal law prohibits the granting of professional licenses to noncitizens like Sergio.

However, that law enacted in 1996 provides an exception “through the enactment of a state law after Aug. 22, 1996, which affirmatively provides for such eligibility.”

Chavez continued:

“In October 2012, after the California Supreme Court heard arguments on the Garcia case, the state legislature indeed passed a law that allowed illegal immigrants to obtain law licenses. The provision thus fulfilled the federal law’s exception clause.”

So now Garcia is a full-fledged lawyer and a legal resident, thanks to the state Supreme Court which appears, in Chavez’s opinion, “to have correctly interpreted both state and federal law.”

But what about hundreds of thousand others who came here illegally as children but who still live in the shadow because of a broken immigration system?

Among them, for instance, is Jose Antonio Vargas, a Filipino who came here as a child, worked jobs under various guises, eventually winning every journalist’s dream — the Pultizer Prize.

In true grit, he came out of the shadows and now is the veritable spokesman of the so-called Dreamers, or those who came here as children.

A bit of good news for about 11 million illegals in the U.S. came over the holidays when House Speaker John A. Boehner said he was open for compromise on the stalled immigration overhaul bill proposed by President Obama.

The Republican-dominated House which Boehner leads has vigorously opposed the Obama bill’s provision for a path to citizenship, among others.

Republicans think that the bill rewards lawbreakers and give them a headstart over those who are legally in line for their legal status.

In effect, the bill is seen as an amnesty, without the dreaded word being mentioned.

According to Chavez, amnesty recognizes a broken law but forgives the transgressor for reasons of mercy, or in the case of children, lack of agency on their part.

She wrote that then-President Ronald Reagan understood this when he signed a law in 1986 granting amnesty to some 3 million illegal immigrants residing in the U.S.

“If Garcia received amnesty, he’d be a legal resident right now,” she added.

Congress should now enact a law fixing the shattered immigration system.

And we expect the Speaker to make good on his word.

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Add comment


Security code
Refresh

Latest comments