SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – In 2014, Attorney Sergio Garcia became the first undocumented immigrant in the United States to pass the bar and practice law in California without being a citizen. He was honored with a Medal of Valor by then-California Attorney General Kamala Harris for the achievement.
Now in 2020, he’s earned his citizenship and he was able to vote for the first time in the election. It just so happens the vote he cast helped put Harris into the White House.
“I think there’s something definitely sweet about that,” Garcia said.
Photos of Garcia and his siblings show what became a decades-long road to become citizens.
“The first time I met Ms. Harris, it was surreal, and I was super nervous,” he said.
In February 2014, Harris tweeted a photo of the two of them together at the Medal of Valor ceremony, promoting immigration reform.
Garcia recalled Harris giving him cautionary advice when they met.
“She said, ‘Sergio, I just want you to know a lot of us are very happy you can now practice law,'”Garcia said.
He said Harris warned him many were also hoping for his failure, to prevent future immigration reform.
“So they can point the finger and say, ‘See, we told you you shouldn’t give a law license to an undocumented,'” he said.
Now it’s Garcia giving that advice back to Harris.
“I want to give back that similar message now,” he said. “Be careful. There’s a lot of us that are very happy for her and have her back, are cheering for her, but there’s a lot of people that want to see her fail.”
Garcia said he is hoping that promises for immigration reform made during the Biden-Harris administration are turned into policy.
Garcia said now that he is a U.S. citizen, he also intends to run for public office.