SACRAMENTO - Editor's Note: Skinner’s bill would only allow legal immigrants who are in the US on a green card or another form of legal visa to become police officers. It would not allow undocumented immigrants to become police officers in California, as that would be a violation of federal law.
A new California bill will allow non-citizens to become police officers in the state.
"Existing law, with certain exceptions, prohibits a person who is not a citizen of the United States from being appointed as a member of the California Highway Patrol. This bill would remove that prohibition, and would make conforming changes," the bill states.
SB 960, proposed by Democrat Sen. Nancy Skinner, would remove the provision that an individual must be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States in order to become a police officer. The bill makes no distinction between legal and illegal immigrants.
The bill was previously voted on at the end of March, with four ayes and one no. Democratic Sens. Steven Bradford, Sydney Kamlager and Scott Wiener, along with Skinner, all voted in favor of the bill. Sen. Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh, Republican, voted no.
The bill only allows for legal immigrants to become police officers, a source familiar with the bill told Fox News Digital. However, the language in the bill itself does not specify that illegal immigrants are barred from doing so. The term "illegal immigrant" was unnecessary to include as other sections of federal law already barred illegal immigrants from becoming officers, the source continued.
"This bill only allows those who are living here legally and have the legal ability to work here -- through a visa, a green card -- to become peace officers. I just want to be clear on that," said Sen. Skinner at a March 22 Senate Public Safety Committee.
The bill received its second reading on Tuesday and is now onto its third reading.
This comes on the heels of the Biden administration's announcement to lift the Title 42 health policy despite migrant surge concerns.
"After considering current public health conditions and an increased availability of tools to fight COVID-19 (such as highly effective vaccines and therapeutics), the CDC Director has determined that an Order suspending the right to introduce migrants into the United States is no longer necessary," the Centers for Disease Control said in a statement.
Title 42 was implemented in March 2020 during the Trump administration as a means of expelling illegal immigrants during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite Democratic support to drop Title 42, both moderate Democratic and Republican lawmakers have expressed concern for the possible migrant surge that could result. Former Trump White House adviser Stephen Miller said it would "open the floodgates on a biblical scale."
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