Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is urging cops in the greater Chicago area to make “a smart move to Florida” after Illinois allowed certain noncitizens to become police officers.
Under the new law, certain noncitizens can apply for police officer jobs. However, they must be legally authorized to both work and carry a firearm in the United States.
Immigration law experts say this includes lawful permanent residents, or green card holders, as well as those in the country with permanent legal status but not yet full citizens, such as refugees and asylees.
Illinois House Bill 3751, signed by Illinois Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker, was slammed by critics as a “fundamentally bad idea,” as it no longer requires citizenship to become a police officer in the state.
Billboards Are Recruiting Officers
“Citizenship Matters. Law Enforcement Matters,” the billboards in greater Chicago read. “Make the Smart Move to Florida!”
The billboards also feature a $5,000 bonus for out-of-state police officers who move to Florida. DeSantis signed the state law enforcement recruitment bonus payment program into law in 2022.
The Florida program appears to bring results so far. More than 2,700 law enforcement recruits have signed up under the recruitment drive, including 750 from 48 states, according to DeSantis’ office.
He said Florida “strongly supports law enforcement” and has consistently enacted “commonsense criminal justice policies” to keep its communities safe.
“We stand behind our citizen officers, and we give them the tools to succeed professionally and personally. Other states deputize noncitizens, enact policies that favor criminals over victims, and work to overtly or covertly defund the police, but not in Florida. I look forward to welcoming the Illinois men and women in blue to the law-and-order state.”
Misinterpreting the Bill
Pritzker defended the measure in response, adding that the bill is limited to those people who are legally allowed to work in the United States and can legally possess firearms.
Pritzker said Republicans are misinterpreting the bill.
“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.”
Eliminating Cash Bail
Cash bail in Illinois will also end next year. The bill survived a legal challenge from prosecutors and sheriffs in counties who said the law was unconstitutional, diminished public safety, and put law enforcement at risk.
Pritzker said the move means pretrial detainment will be based on “the danger an individual poses to the community instead of by their ability to pay their way out of jail.”
Illinois is facing police shortages across the state as it has low recruitment and retention numbers.
Chicago Police Department staffing numbers reached the lowest in recent history in March 2022.
The department waived the minimum 60 college credits for some candidates and offered online testing opportunities to mitigate the issue.
The bill will go into effect on January 1, 2024, despite heavy opposition from Republican lawmakers and police groups.
Federal Law Requires Citizenship
However, the US federal law still prohibits non-U.S. citizens from serving as police officers and deputies.
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / The Old Major
Source: Fox News