The Denver Sheriff Department has been slapped with a $10,000 fine by the Department of Justice (DOJ) because they did not hire non-citizens as deputies. The department set out to hire scores of deputies last year to lessen the burden on its staff and to cut millions in overtime.
From the beginning of 2015 through last March, the the department went on a major hiring spree, adding more than 200 new deputies. But those jobs ended up only going to citizens, because the department made citizenship a stated requirement on the job application. The department admitted as much in a new settlement with the U.S. government, which requires it to pay a $10,000 fine, the Daily Caller reported.
In a summary of the settlement on its website, the Justice Department said that in insisting on citizenship, the Denver Sheriff’s Department violated an anti-discrimination provision in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) that forbids employers from hiring only U.S. citizens except in cases where it is mandated “by law, regulation, executive order or government contract,” Fox News reported.
The Justice Department said that the opportunity to work for the department should be open to anyone with the necessary skills who is authorized to be employed in the United States. That could be a legal permanent resident who has not naturalized, for example, or someone on a temporary visa who has a work permit.
In a statement, the Denver agency said it would abide by the ruling.
“The Denver Sheriff Department maintains its commitment to treat all people with dignity and respect, and is proud to have one of the most diverse workplaces in Colorado,” said Denver Sheriff’s Department spokesman Simon Crittle.
“While we didn’t commit this violation intentionally, we accept responsibility and are taking steps to clarify policy and amend language in hiring documents,” he added.
Beyond the fine, the sheriff’s department must review applicants who were disqualified because they lacked citizenship and consider them for future openings if they meet other criteria.
Ira Mehlman, spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, told FoxNews.com that hiring people who are not permanent residents and have temporary visas does not seem feasible.
“They’re making a long term investment, paying for training, for someone who might be ineligible to work in a few years,” Mehlman said of the police departments.
Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, told USA Today last year that while he supports the idea of opening up hiring at police departments to non-citizens who are in the U.S. legally, he worried about security risks of police officers who have only 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.