Politics

Denver Sheriff Department Penalized for Hiring U.S. Citizens

Obama DOJ takes aim at local law enforcement for seeking Americans to enforce local law

The Department of Justice slapped the Denver Sheriff Department with a $10,000 fine Monday for the simple infraction of requiring its applicants to be U.S. citizens during a recent hiring spree.

As part of the settlement, the sheriff’s department will be required to train its human resources staff to comply with the anti-discrimination provisions contained within federal immigration laws. The sheriff department must ensure that its procedures align with the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and protect the rights of non-U.S. citizens by not discriminating against them.

“First, I don’t see how the Justice Department can dictate to a local sheriff that he must consider non-citizens for a law enforcement officer’s job … It’s absurd.”

“This case reveals the extent to which the Obama administration has sought to erase immigration laws and blur the lines of immigration status, to treat LPRs as if they were citizens, and illegal aliens as if they were here legally, all under the guise of ‘non-discriminatory’ hiring,” Jessica Vaughan, the director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies, told LifeZette in a statement.

“Most Americans do not approve, but one problem is that it creates a sense of entitlement among illegal aliens that is buttressed by the grievance groups that DOJ has been catering to for the last eight years,” Vaughan added.

The Department of Justice, however, did not see the case in the same light.

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“We commend the Denver Sheriff Department for its cooperation and commitment to removing unnecessary and unlawful employment barriers,” Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, said Monday in a statement. “Eliminating this unlawful citizenship requirement will help ensure that the Denver Sheriff Department hires the best and most qualified individuals to protect and serve. The entire community will benefit from these reforms.”

The Denver Sheriffs Department hired approximately 200 deputies beginning in January 2015 and ending through March 2016 as part of a reform initiative. But in declining to consider applicants who have neither pledged their allegiance to the U.S. nor obtained legal citizenship for their law enforcement positions, the sheriff department found itself entangled in one of the key hot-button issues facing the nation.

“First, I don’t see how the Justice Department can dictate to a local sheriff that he must consider non-citizens for a law enforcement officer’s job,” Vaughan said. “It’s absurd – have they told the rest of the federal government that they need to give non-citizens the highest security clearances too?”

Vaughan noted the Obama administration has gone out of its way to allow LPRs, temporary residents, Dreamers with deferred action, and many other categories of people with “dubious immigration status” to live in the U.S. without having “sworn allegiance to the United States and its laws.”

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“It is perfectly appropriate for a law enforcement agency to require that — as far as I know, most of the others in the country have the same standard, and it is perfectly appropriate,” Vaughan said. “If you are a legal immigrant and you want to become a law enforcement officer, you need to become a citizen, period.”

But now the Denver Sheriff Department must revisit any applications from work-authorized immigrants that were tabled as unsuitable and reconsider those applications, the Department of Justice required.

“This is another example of the Obama Department of Justice targeting the good guys instead of the bad guys, and elevating non-citizens above Americans. I wish they would go after criminal aliens with the same zealousness,” Vaughan said.

Now that the victorious President-Elect Donald Trump is poised to enact his strict immigration and border security policies, Vaughan holds hope that the Department of Justice under the Trump administration will prioritize its actions to support law enforcement agencies and clamp down on dubious immigration policies.

“I am certain that these policies will end under the Trump administration, especially with Sen. [Jeff] Sessions at the helm of DOJ,” Vaughan said. “He is known as a tireless defender of American citizenship and supporter of U.S. law enforcement agencies. He will not be prosecuting sheriffs who do the right thing, as was the case here.”

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