When the subject is California and the state’s extreme politics, nothing ever surprises. But even long-time California skeptics admit that Senate Bill 960 (SB 960) raises eyebrows for its audacity and disregard for public safety.
Introduced by State Senator Nancy Skinner, a Democrat who represents District 9 and its radical cities of Oakland, Berkeley and Richmond, the bill proposes to allow non-U.S. citizens to become California law enforcement officers. Skinner’s bill removes the condition that an individual must be a citizen or a lawful United States permanent resident to become a police officer, a step too far in many Californians’ opinion. Since Skinner’s legislation doesn’t specifically ban illegal immigrants from the non-U.S. citizen category, the conclusion that many have reached is that SB 960 would allow illegally present aliens to wear the badge. The bill originally passed committee 4-1, has been read twice, and will soon get a third and final reading before it can proceed to the floor for debate.
SB 960 has sparked controversy, and the first to speak out is Skinner herself. At a March 22 Senate Public Safety Committee hearing, Skinner insisted that her 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.” She added, “I just want to be clear on that.” Despite Skinner’s insistence, SB 960 is at best murky on the permissibility of illegal immigrants becoming law enforcement officers.
To give Skinner the possible benefit of doubt, SB 960 may be the consequence of her district’s inability to retain police officers. The Mercury News reported that Oakland is the state’s “most watched police department with both a federal monitor and strong civilian oversight.” As a result of the intense oversight, officers are leaving the Oakland PD in unprecedented numbers, from an average of about four per month late last year to 10 or 15 a month since then.
Despite federal and municipal oversight, in 2021 OPD investigated 134 homicides, the most since 2012, and the city endured a 21 percent increase in shootings. Crime rates in Berkeley and Richmond are equally terrible. In Berkeley, a crime occurs on average once every 70 minutes; in Richmond, once every 158 minutes. Berkeley isn’t the only challenged city in the state. The Los Angeles Police Department has 296 vacant officer positions and almost 500 fewer on-duty officers than it did this time last year, according to LAPD reports.
Whatever the solution is to the Bay Area and sanctuary state California’s rising crime rates and its dwindling number of police officers on the payroll, rewarding illegal aliens with the vital job of enforcing the law isn’t the answer. One of the existing provisions to qualify as a California police officer is that the candidate complete a background check that confirms his or her good moral character. Since little information can be confirmed about an illegal immigrant’s life prior to voluntarily and illegally coming to the U.S., no meaningful background check can be performed. Known for certain, however, is that entering the U.S. without inspection violates U.S. immigration law which furthermore means that the prospective police candidate’s first action was criminal.
Blue states like New York, Illinois, Oregon, Washington and California have pushed to promote illegal immigrants to the same level as legal immigrants, a grave injustice to the foreign-born who followed the proper procedures to attain lawful permanent resident status. Opening up good, albeit dangerous, jobs like police officer to illegal aliens is a disservice all the way around – to citizens who want protection provided by the most qualified and best trained, to citizens seeking high-paying jobs with affirmative benefits, and to the U.S. homeland which is always imperiled.
Specifically, border agents have encountered 838,685 illegal aliens since October 1, fiscal year 2022’s beginning, to February; Biden has released 37.9 percent, or 318,700. Add to 838,685, hundreds of thousands more migrant gotaways not included in the official total.