Illinois Democratic Governor JB Pritzker has reaffirmed his commitment to the new state law allowing non-citizens to serve as police officers despite criticism from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. In a recent social media post, Pritzker responded to DeSantis’s remarks by defending the legislation and expressing his support for individuals with legal permanent residency and DACA recipients to serve their communities as police officers.
The Illinois House Bill 3751, signed into law by Governor Pritzker last week, removes the requirement of U.S. citizenship as a qualification for becoming a police officer in the state. The bill has garnered both support and opposition, with Pritzker emphasizing its importance in addressing police shortages and recruiting challenges faced by Illinois departments.
In response to DeSantis’s criticism, Pritzker asserted that citizenship is not a determinant of an individual’s commitment to serving and protecting their community. He stated, “To the Left, citizenship is meaningless. Illinois is now letting illegal aliens become police officers.” Pritzker further argued that the law is not an open invitation for anyone to become a police officer, emphasizing that it is limited to individuals who are legally authorized to work in the United States and are eligible to possess firearms under federal law.
Pritzker also addressed the misrepresentations surrounding the bill, expressing his frustration with right-wing individuals twisting the facts and spreading misinformation. He emphasized that the legislation is in line with federal law and aligns with the state’s efforts to address police staffing issues responsibly.
The new law, which takes effect on January 1, 2024, allows individuals who are legally authorized to work in the United States and can possess firearms under federal law to apply for positions as police officers. This includes those protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Act. The bill ensures that non-citizens meet all other requirements and limitations imposed on other applicants.
Governor Pritzker’s unwavering commitment to this law stems from his belief that every qualified individual, regardless of their citizenship status, should have the opportunity to serve their community and uphold the principles of law enforcement. His decision is supported by prominent police groups, who recognize the need to diversify law enforcement and address staffing challenges effectively.
As the debate continues, Governor Pritzker remains steadfast in his belief that this law is a step forward in strengthening Illinois’ law enforcement capabilities and ensuring that qualified individuals, regardless of citizenship status, have the chance to contribute positively to their communities.
Fox News’ Yael Halon contributed to this report.