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Non-citizens may soon be cops, firefighters

Denver. (Dreamstime/TNS)
February 16, 2024

Denver is considering an initiative to change the city charter to allow non-citizens to serve as police officers and firefighters, which would allow immigrants with work authorization to be hired for both public safety positions.

According to Axios Denver, City Council President Jamie Torres and Amanda Sandoval, a city council member, proposed that the sanctuary city remove language in Denver’s charter that currently prevents the city from hiring non-citizens with work authorization as police officers and firefighters. If the change was enacted, Denver would be able to employ non-citizens as police officers and firefighters if they had proper work authorization.

Torres told Axios Denver that she will be continuing to push the proposal and indicated that the proposal could be formally introduced in April as a bill. However, the change would require the city council to put the proposal on the November ballot since Denver law requires charter changes to be voted on by city residents.

READ MORE: Denver removing 800 illegal immigrant families from shelters

Axios Denver reported that both Denver Police Chief Ron Thomas and Denver Fire Chief Desmond Fulton have written letters in support of Torres and Sandoval’s charter change proposal.

Currently, the Denver Sheriff’s Department is authorized to hire non-citizens due to a federal settlement from 2016 that determined the Denver Sheriff’s Department had “discriminated against work-authorized immigrants in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act.”

Denver recently announced that the city would be evicting roughly 800 illegal immigrant families as the city has struggled to meet the needs of over 40,000 illegal immigrants who have been relocated to the capital of Colorado over the past several months.

Denver Mayor Mike Johnson noted that the city has “filled every single hotel room that we have available in the city and county of Denver” and warned that the city was “very close” to reaching a breaking point due to Denver’s illegal immigrant crisis. 

“Our city workers have done heroic work helping newcomers land on their feet and start to build a life in Denver, but we are out of shelter space,” Jordan Fuja, the mayor’s press secretary, told Newsweek earlier this month. “We are out of staff. And we are facing a budget deficit of up to $180 million to cover sheltering costs.”