FACT CHECK: Is California Allowing Illegal Immigrants To Become Law Enforcement Officers?

Joseph Casieri | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Facebook purports a new bill passed in the California State Legislature would allow illegal immigrants to become law enforcement officers.

Verdict: Misleading

The bill allows those “legally authorized to work” in the country to become officers, not illegal immigrants. All businesses and places of employment must check to make sure applicants have approval to work.

Fact Check:

Immigrants trying to illegally cross the border reached a 62-year high in October 2022, reaching almost 2 million migrants, The New York Times reported. For the first time since 2017, the US embassy in Cuba has started to issue visas as part of President Joe Biden’s plan to let 30,000 migrants from four countries to enter the US every month, The Guardian reported.

The Facebook post claims a California lawmaker, Democratic State Sen. Nancy Skinner, introduced a bill that would change the law to allow illegal immigrants to become peace officers.

“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 post reads. “The bill makes no distinction between legal and illegal immigrants.”

The claim is inaccurate. Current law under the Citizenship and Immigration Services requires all applicants be either U.S. citizens, permanent residents who are eligible, or those who have applied for and have received an employment-based immigration visa. U.S. code prevents the unlawful employment of illegal immigrants.

Senator Skinner proposed SB-960 to change state law to expand the eligibility criteria of officers, now requiring them to be “legally authorized to work in the [U.S.]” There are no credible news reports nor is there any wording in the bill suggests illegal immigrants can be hired in this role.(RELATED: Did Ted Cruz Say He Had Evidence About The FBI’s Search Of Mar-A-Lago?)

“SB 960, which was signed by Gov. Newsom in September and went into effect on Jan. 1 of this year, only allows noncitizens with full federal legal work authorization to become police officers in California,” Robert Gammon, a spokesperson for Skinner’s office, told Check your Fact via email.

A Senate Floor Analyses in March reiterated that, “federal law requires that any non-citizen that seeking employment in the United States must be authorized to work in the country by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).”

Skinner has worked on police regulations before, pushing a bill that would allow easier access to police misconduct records.

This is not the first time misinformation has been shared on social media. Check Your Facts recently debunked a claim a BBC graphic showed the profits of Ukrainian politicians in 2022.

UPDATE: This article has been updated with a quote from Skinner’s office.

Joseph Casieri

Fact Check Reporter