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Illinois Gov. Pritzker signs bill allowing non-citizens to become police officers

The bill allows anyone legally authorized to work and carry a firearm under federal law to become a police officer.

Published: July 30, 2023 3:32pm

Illinois Democrat Gov. JB Pritzker signed a bill allowing non-citizens to become police officers in the state, sparking outrage from some in the state.

Pritzker signed the bill, HB 3751, into law along with more than 130 other bills on Friday. The bill allows anyone legally authorized to work and carry a firearm under federal law to become a police officer or sheriff's deputy. While the bill states that it is effective Jan. 1, 2024, Pritzker's office says it is effective immediately. 

The legislation passed in May with a 37-20 vote in the Senate, as two Democrats joined Republicans to vote against the bill.

House Republicans unanimously supported the bill in a vote to pass it and send it to the Senate. After the Senate amended the bill slightly to allow Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients to apply to become police officers, just 7 out of 40 Republicans opposed the updated legislation in the 118-member chamber. 

The Illinois Fraternal Order of Police criticized the legislation earlier this month, according to local outlet KHQA

"What message does this legislation send when it allows people who do not have legal status to become the enforcers of our laws?" the order asked. "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 Republican state Sen. Chapin Rose voiced opposition to the bill in May when it was debated in his chamber.

"It’s just a fundamentally bad idea," he said. "I don’t care where this individual is from. Australia — they should not be able to arrest a United States citizen on United States soil."

Illinois Republican Rep. Mary Miller tweeted Saturday about the bill: "No sane state would allow foreign nationals to arrest their citizens, this is madness!"

The legislation comes as Illinois is facing a shortage of law enforcement officials.

Follow Madeleine Hubbard on Twitter or Instagram.

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