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Immigration debate keeps law school graduate a few steps from his dreams

16 July 2012 No Comment

Sergio Garcia in an almond orchard similar to one he used to work in near his home in Durham, Calif. Friday, June 29, 2012. Garcia is an undocumented immigrant who is seeking the right to practice law in a case now before the California Supreme Court. The court recently took up the case, inviting the Obama administration to weigh in on whether federal immigration law bars states from licensing illegal immigrants for such professions as the law. (Patrick Tehan/Staff)

By Howard Mintz

July 16, 2012

The endless rows of almond orchards dotting the landscape in this ranch town just outside Chico meant a future for Sergio Garcia’s family.

His father, a Mexican immigrant, harvested the cash crop, shaking the trees for bounty 12 hours a day through hot summer months. As a teenager, Sergio Garcia worked alongside his father, helping out when he wasn’t rising to the top of his high school class and positioning himself for college and, later, law school.

But the nation’s wrenching debate over illegal immigration has now engulfed Garcia’s path to success. He is at the center of an unprecedented California Supreme Court case that will determine whether the state bar can grant an undocumented immigrant a card to practice law in California.

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