Illinois law will allow non-citizens to become police officers – NBC Chicago

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a bill last week that would allow for non-U.S. citizens to apply to become police officers, and on Monday he defended the legislation against critics.

During a press conference where he spoke about legislation protecting reproductive rights in the state, Pritzker emphasized that the bill would be limited to individuals who are legally allowed to work in the United States, and who are legally allowed to possess firearms.

“We have the ability for people who are legally here in this country, and permanent residents and DACA residents, to apply for jobs as police officers,” he said.

HB 3751 was passed by both chambers of the General Assembly earlier this year. The bill’s language says that “individuals who are not citizens, but are legally authorized to work in the United States under federal law” will be allowed to apply for jobs with police departments beginning on Jan. 1, 2024.

The bill is also generating backlash. Reps. Mary Miller and Lauren Boebert were among Republicans to condemn the bill, arguing that the legislation would allow individuals who entered the U.S. illegally to apply for positions.

Former Chicago mayoral candidate Willie Wilson also opposed the bill, arguing that it “defies common sense that non-citizens should be arresting and detaining legal citizens.”

Pritzker fired back at those criticisms, saying that it is a misrepresentation of the legislation’s language.

“I am tired of the right wing twisting things,” he said. “They put it on Facebook, they tell lies. There are people out there that think we’re just allowing anybody to become a police officer. That’s just not accurate.”

The governor also cited other states, including California, that have similar legislation on the books, and pointed out that thousands of legal permanent residents and DACA recipients are already serving in the United States military.

Representatives of both the Illinois Municipal League and the Chicago FOP Lodge #7 filed witness slips in support of the legislation, while the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police opposed the measure.

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