At this year’s annual meeting of the American Bar Association, delegates from state and local bar associations passed Resolution 108 in a voice-vote that received only “moderate opposition.” The resolution, which was “proposed by the ABA Law Student Division and embraced by the ABA Young Lawyers Division, recommends that state courts with authority to regulate admission to the bar admit undocumented law school graduates if they are seeking legal status.”
The resolution was proposed following a 2013 California State bill which allowed for illegal immigrants to legally practice law. That bill came after Sergio C. Garcia, who passed the California State Bar Exam, was declared ineligible for admission to the bar association because of his status as an illegal immigrant. U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), who at the time served as Attorney General of California, submitted an amicus curiae brief supporting Garcia’s application, arguing that his admission was not in violation of a federal law that prohibits illegal immigrants from obtaining “professional licenses.” After the bill was signed into law by California Governor Jerry Brown (D-CA), Mr. Garcia was granted admission to the bar.
Following California’s lead, New York and Florida have similarly allowed illegal aliens to legally practice law within their states. According to an article by Alberto Luperon, if the resolution is taken seriously by Congress, implementation of the Association’s proposal “wouldn’t require state courts to license undocumented lawyers, but it would make it clear that the federal government won’t get in the way.”
At Monday's meeting, the ABA also adopted Resolution 10C, which “urges Congress to amend Section 287 of the Immigration and Nationality Act to expand and codify Department of Homeland Security guidelines regarding immigration enforcement actions to include courthouses as “sensitive locations” in which immigration enforcement actions may only be taken upon a showing of exigency circumstances and with prior approval of a designated supervisory official.” This, of course, is intended to make it safe for newly-admitted illegal alien lawyers to appear in court, but the sought after status has broader implications and would apply to all illegal aliens while they are in court. If passed into law, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) would be unable to detain illegal immigrants at courthouses nationwide.
The supporting argument for Resolution 10C is that witnesses to a crime, and those asked to testify against someone accused of a crime, will be less likely to speak up if they fear they will be detained by ICE upon their arrival to court. Perhaps there’s some truth to this argument, but courthouses are also perfect targets for ICE agents looking for illegal immigrants who have committed crimes beyond those concerning their continued presence in the country and who are often very difficult for authorities to locate. This is especially true in sanctuary cities, where local authorities refuse to hold illegal immigrants for ICE.
Thankfully, with the current congressional make-up and White House administration, there’s likely zero chance of either of these proposals becoming law any time soon. No word from the Left yet on whether the push to allow illegal immigrants to become Border Patrol and ICE agents is coming next. As long as we’re living in Bizarro World, it seems anything is possible.