Police agencies struggling to meet their manpower requirements for beat and patrol cops are turning to a new resource — green card aliens and, in some instances, even immigrants who have only been granted work permits.
applicant pool not only fills personnel quotas, but its members can communicate more readily with with the flood of immigrants crossing the southern border.
But at what cost?
Most departments require a police officer to be a U.S. citizen — after all, they take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. But some jurisdictions only require that an officer be a legal resident of the United States, according to USA Today.
Those agencies with relaxed rules reason that non-American citizens can already serve in the U.S. military — currently numbering about 25,000. And those who have been honorably discharged from the service comprise their target recruits.
“Persons who have given of themselves in the service to this country potentially have much to offer Tennesseans,” Nashville Department spokesman Don Aaron said. “We feel that … would benefit both the country and this city.”
Hostility directed at cops after recent highly-charged and inaccurately-reported incidents in Ferguson, Mo. and Staten Island, N.Y., has left agencies struggling to fill rank-and-file positions. Other agencies have ongoing problems filling particular positions. USA Today reported:
Colorado State Patrol Sgt. Justin Mullins said the department usually struggles to fill trooper positions in less populous corners of the state, including patrol sectors high up in the mountains. He said immigrants from Canada, the Bahamas, the United Kingdom, Mexico and Central America who are willing to live in those remote places have helped the agency fill those vacancies.
“People that want to live there and build a family there and work there is a little more difficult to find,” Mullins told USA Today. “People moving from out of state, or out of the country, if they’re willing to work in these areas, then that’s great for us.”
The real problem arises when any immigrant with a work permit is allowed to serve as a police officer — a problem that was significantly heightened when President Obama granted temporary legal status and work permits to young immigrants — a program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.
And there may be millions more who could soon be eligible, depending upon the outcome of a federal lawsuit brought against the Obama administration by 26 states.
According to USA Today:
Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, said he has no problems with green-card holders becoming police officers because they’ve made a long-term commitment to the country and have undergone extensive background checks. But he worries about the security risks associated with allowing any immigrant with a work permit to become an officer, especially considering that the Obama administration has given hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants work permits.
“We’re handing over a gun and a badge to somebody whose background we don’t really know a lot about,” Krikorian said.
What could possibly go wrong?
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