The American Bar Association House of Delegates passed a resolution Monday recommending that illegal immigrants who wish to take the bar exam and practice law should not be dismissed because of their immigration status.
“RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association supports the principle that bar admission should not be denied based solely on immigration status,” the resolution stated. According to the ABA’s news release, the resolution passed with modest opposition.
And it didn’t stop there. The delegates took it a step further, urging Congress to amend federal code 8 U.S.C. § 1621(d), which addresses a state’s “authority to provide for eligibility of illegal aliens for State and local public benefits” and specifies that undocumented residents may not obtain professional licenses issued by state governments.
The ABA called on Congress to allow undocumented residents who are pursuing legal status to be eligible for all the benefits and rights addressed in the code subchapter.
“A state court vested with exclusive authority to regulate admission to the bar may, by rule, order, or other affirmative act, permit an undocumented alien seeking legal status to obtain a professional license to practice law in that jurisdiction.”
As the text reads, the proposed code change wouldn’t order state courts to comply, but it would give the courts the ability to make the decision at their discretion.
The proposal would have an uphill battle gaining traction with a Republican majority in both the House and Senate and current President Donald Trump’s crackdown on deporting those who are here illegally.