On Thursday the California Supreme Court ruled that a man who has been illegally living in the United States can be granted a license to practice law. Having graduated from law school and passed the bar Sergio Garcia challenged a 1996 law that states people living in the country illegally cannot receive “professional licenses.” Garcia won his battle, with the Supreme Court announcing that he can get a license and practice law in California. The Obama administration was opposed to granting Garcia the license.

The Supreme Court unanimously agreed that there was no reason to hinder Sergio’s attempts to get the license. In the ruling the court mentioned that Garcia came to the United States with his family when he was in high school and completed college as well as law school and successfully passed the bar. “He has been a diligent and trusted worker and has made significant contributions to his community. He has never been convicted of a criminal offense,” the ruling said. A new law permitted the high court to allow immigrants who are not yet citizens a license.

“We conclude there is no state law or state public policy that would justify precluding undocumented immigrants, as a class from obtaining a law license in California,” wrote Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye for the court. Garcia has been waiting on his green card for over ten years.  Garcia was supported by the State Board of Bar Examiners as well as Attorney General Kamala Harris. The Obama administration opposed Garcia’s license saying the federal immigration law prohibits such a license being given to an illegal immigrant.

While other members of Garcia’s family have gone on to become citizens, Garcia still has some years to go before working his way through the immigration system and becoming a citizen. In 1995 Garcia’s father filed a visa request which Garcia is still waiting to receive. Once he has the visa Garcia will be able to seek permanent residency and then citizenship.