The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program has been at the center of a political debate for years as its supporters push to allow undocumented migrants who entered the nation as migrants to legally remain in the United States.
While that position has attracted some support even among Republicans calling for stricter immigration laws and border security, a growing number of Democrats are taking the argument even further.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, for example, recently signed into effect a new law that will allow foreign nationals who either have a work permit or deferred status under the DACA program to obtain jobs as police officers in the state.
As the law states, any “individual against whom immigration action has been deferred by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services under the federal DACA process is allowed to apply for the position of police officer, deputy sheriff, or special policeman, subject to specified requirements.”
With Pritzker’s signature, the legislation was set to go into effect immediately.
Republicans, law enforcement organizations, and other critics across the state have been vocal in their opposition to the move.
At 5pm yesterday, when no one was paying attention, Pritzker signed a bill to allow illegal immigrants to become police officers, giving non-citizens the power to arrest citizens in our state. No sane state would allow foreign nationals to arrest their citizens, this is madness!
— Rep. Mary Miller (@RepMaryMiller) July 29, 2023
“To hand the power to arrest and detain a citizen of this state, or a citizen of any state in the United States, to a non-citizen is a fundamental breach of democracy,” GOP state Sen. Chapin Rose asserted earlier this year. “It is antithetical to the police power of any state.”
In a public statement anticipating the news, the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police wrote: “What message does this legislation send when it allows people who do not have legal status to become the enforcers of our laws? This is a potential crisis of confidence in law enforcement at a time when our officers need all the public confidence they can get.”
Illinois is not the only deep-blue state with such a provision on the books. Earlier this year, Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law that provides undocumented immigrants with a similarly permissive set of requirements for securing a career in local, county, or state law enforcement.
According to the new law, police officers are only required to possess a federal work permit, a requirement that has become significantly easier to meet under the lax immigration policies of the Biden administration.