(The Center Square) – Illinois Governor JB Pritzker has signed a bill into law, which has since gone into effect, that allows non-citizens to become police officers in Illinois.
House Bill 3751 passed with bipartisan support during the spring session. Police groups were split between being neutral and supporting the measure.
State Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Mohammet, opposed the bill and said non-citizens should not be allowed to detain citizens.
“This is just a foundational thing. I get that everybody is running away from law enforcement in Chicago because of everything the state of Illinois has done to law enforcement in Chicago,” Rose said during debate.
“But to backfill that and hand the power to arrest and detain a citizen of this state or any state in the United States to a noncitizen is a fundamental breach of democracy,” Rose said.
Alongside more than 130 bills Pritzker’s office announced were signed last week, House Bill 3751 was among them.
The governor said he was proud to sign the bill.
“So we have the ability for people who are legally in this country, and again, permanent residents or [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals] recipients now, to apply for jobs as police officers,” Pritzker said.
The measure went into effect immediately after it was signed and only allows those legally authorized to work in the U.S. and able to lawfully obtain, carry or purchase firearms to be police or sheriff deputies.
State statute previously said “it was unlawful” for the sheriff of any county or local government to “authorize, empower, employ, or permit any person to act as deputy sheriff or special policeman for the purpose of preserving the peace, who is not a citizen of the United States.”
Struck from the statute with House Bill 3751 were the words “it was unlawful” and “not.” The measure added DACA and those “legally authorized under federal law to work in the United States and authorized under federal law to obtain, carry, or purchase or otherwise possess a firearm.”
Pritzker recently responded to critics of the new law. “I am tired of the right-wing twisting these things,” he said.
“They put it out on Facebook. They tell lies. They attack based upon those lies. They’re perpetuating lies so that there are people out there that think that we’re just allowing anybody to become a police officer. That’s just not accurate,” Pritzker said.
Before it passed, Rose did not use the term “illegal immigrant” or “undocumented migrant” while discussing his opposition.
He used the term “non-citizen” as the governor’s office used to announce the bill was signed. Rose said it does not matter where the applicant came from.
“You cannot hand the power to arrest any citizen of the United States, let alone the ones we represent here in the state of Illinois, over to someone who is not a United States citizen,” Rose said.