Joy B. Peltz


resident alien, public employment, professional license, occupational license, Cabell v. Chavez-Salido, equal protection, rational basis, strict scrutiny


Resident aliens in the United States are afforded important privileges, such as residing in the United States indefinitely, and seeking employment here. Nevertheless, resident aliens are denied certain job opportunities in states that require United States citizenship as a prerequisite to public employment, or professional or occupational licenses. The Constitutionality of this exclusion has been challenged on equal protection grounds, most recently, by the Supreme Court in Cabell v. Chavez-Salido. In this case, the Court upheld the constitutionality of a California statute, restricting a deputy probation officer position to United States citizens. This case has been hailed as precedent for denying resident aliens equal employment opportunities in the United States. This Note examines the constitutional protections afforded to resident aliens seeking public employments, professional or occupational licenses, as decided by various Supreme Court decisions, and interpreted by lower federal and state courts. In conclusion, the Note recommends how to balance legitimate state goals in denying resident aliens certain employment opportunities, with the resident aliens' rights to such. The author finally recommends that because the purpose of professional licenses is to ensure competence, it should not be based on alienage, which is not an indicator of such.



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