Campus News

Undocumented, Unafraid: Sergio Garcia, undocumented immigrant, is fighting for his American dream

By Antonio Benavides | Posted October 2, 2013


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One should never underestimate the drive of an individual, no matter how many obstacles they must overcome. In this day and age, millions of undocumented people living in the United States must jump hurdles symbolized as the rhetoric of laws, the rhetoric of hate, a poor economic status and the stagnant delay of a corroding legal system.

 

Many have proven worthy to be deemed American citizens through hard work and perseverance. Even though they have worked hard to reach the mountaintop, many may still face a giant hurdle before jumping into citizenship. One man’s story, similar to others like him, will show clearing these hurdles is possible, but the battle should never and will never end there.

 

An 36-year-old undocumented individual in California by the name of Sergio Covarrubias Garcia has taken his case to the State’s Supreme Court to request that the state allow him to practice law. Garcia passed the bar exam in 2011 after studying four years at Cal Northern School of Law and graduating in 2009.

 

Garcia currently resides in Durham, Calif., and his office is located in the small town of Chico, where he is originally from. What is unfortunate is the title marked on those office doors reads, “Office of Sergio C. Garcia,” with the word “law” absent.

 

Garcia has been a powerful motivational speaker for undocumented students in California and has shared his story across the states through major news outlets including Univision and “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.” The Collegian was fortunate enough to get an interview with him via phone.

 

During his talk with the Collegian, Sergio humbly agreed this story was of great historical importance and had a significant relevance to the Morton College community.

 

When asked of the history of his family living in America, Garcia stated his father was initially the one to bring his family over to work in the fields to lead a better and more prosperous life for his family. Garcia was only 17 months old, but by the age of 9, his family decided to move back to Mexico.

 

It was here at the age of 10 where Garcia envisioned becoming a lawyer. At such a young age, he noticed the corruption of the government on how people charged with a crime had to bribe their way to get any form of justice.

 

At the age of 17, Garcia’s family decided to come back to the U.S., but he was put in a situation to cross the border illegally. Eventually his father had gained U.S. citizenship in 1994 and his mother had become a legal permanent resident.

 

As for Garcia himself, he applied for a green card about 19 years ago, but due to the longevity of the process of the legal system, nothing has been done for him.

 

Opponents of Garcia will argue that he doesn’t deserve any type of amnesty or opportunities in this country because he has been here illegally for so long violating federal law. He was asked if he was ever aware of encountering this legal battle about practicing law while he was studying law, he stated, “No, it was not an issue before my case, it was never an issue. People were never asked about their status to become an attorney.”

 

Garcia also claimed there are already 1,500 undocumented people practicing law, but they just aren’t willing to step out into the spotlight and admit it.

 

Another opposing view to granting amnesty to undocumented individuals is that they are dependent on the taxing of hard labor that provides for the benefits and aid of the government. However, in Garcia’s case, he never received a dime of financial aid for his schooling or any private assistance—he supported his education through his own hard-earned money.

 

Garcia is grateful to receive so much support from people across the country and is especially honored to be deemed a civil rights leader of the 21st Century.

 

“Even without being deemed a leader of a civil rights movement, there’s a lot of heavy weight on my shoulders,” Garcia said, following by explaining that a certain ally of his has deemed him selfish because he wants to stay in Chico to practice law.

 

His ally goes on to explain that Garcia has put himself in a position where he has garnered tremendous support, and it would be a shame if he didn’t put that great potential of his in a larger scene.

 

The conflict for Garcia is that he’s been offered positions in San Francisco and Los Angeles, but he wants to stay in Chico because he loves his family and his community and he feels no amount of money can persuade him. However, his ally has made a great effort to convince him otherwise.

 

“It’s really a huge sacrifice, its giving up what I want for my life for the greater good,” Garcia said.

 

Making sacrifices has become natural in our day-to-day lives, but although the Obama Administration has made some efforts, very little sacrifice has been made when handling immigration reform, especially in the case of those families being broken apart through mass deportations, as well as in Garcia’s case.

 

The Obama Administration has publicly supported Sergio, but behind closed doors they are informing the California Supreme Court to enforce the federal immigration laws against him. When Sergio was asked what his thoughts on this were, he replied, “The President’s words are beautiful, but his actions, terrible.”

 

While Sergio is awaiting the Supreme Court decision, he is also gaining national support to sign a petition being sent to Gov. Jerry Brown of California to sign AB 1024 into law to allow undocumented immigrants to pursue their career in law. The law has passed through the state legislature with an overwhelmingly majority vote.

 

If you feel compelled to support this cause for the great number of dreamers who wish to practice law, please go online or on Facebook and sign the petition supporting AB 1024. We all dream and we all struggle. In this country, all our struggles lead to the same thing—the American Dream.

 



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