No, law does not allow ‘illegal immigrants’ to become cops

Misinformation like this, including a tweet from U.S. Rep. Mary Miller, is harmful and divisive.

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U.S. Rep. Mary Miller, R-Ill., a member of the House Freedom Caucus, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, July 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) ORG XMIT: DCPS131

U.S. Rep. Mary Miller, R-Ill., tweeted that a new Illinois law will let ‘illegal immigrants’ become police officers.

AP

Thanks to Rich Miller for the column clarifying the recent Illinois law allowing legal immigrants to work in law enforcement. When the bill was signed, U.S. Rep. Mary Miller immediately tweeted the lie that “Illegal immigrants will now be allowed to arrest legal citizens in our state.”

First, a civics lesson. The Illinois House and Senate passed this bill allowing legal immigrants with the legal ability to own guns to be eligible to become law enforcement officers. Therefore it is not a “Pritzker bill.”

Within days, I had two people express disgust with the bill that, according to them, allowed illegals to become law enforcement. I pointed out that this was wrong, but they will probably stick with their false beliefs, heard on a national news network.

Mary Miller and the news services that promoted this lie should retract their statements. Misinformation like this continues to divide our country.

Bill O’Connor, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

Law protects prison staff from indecent exposure by inmates

A bill signed into law last week protects against lewd displays in prison, improving workplace safety for correctional officers who are often targets of indecent exposure in our jails and prisons.

While there have been persistent complaints from correctional officers, particularly from brave female officers, the issue was unaddressed, allowing an environment of harassment and intimidation. But no more.

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By criminalizing these acts of public indecency, we send a resounding message: We will not tolerate such abhorrent behavior that threatens the dignity and security of both inmates and staff.

The bill was championed by state Rep. Natalie Manley for many years, and I was glad to lend my support in the Senate.

Incarcerated individuals who purposefully or effectively expose themselves with the intent to intimidate, harass or threaten others will now face consequences. We refuse to allow their reprehensible behavior to go unchecked.

However, the new law is not solely about punishment. Far from it. This law excludes facilities of the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice and other juvenile detention facilities, as well as individuals under the age of 18 and those with behavioral health issues. The focus is ultimately on rehabilitation.

Those who engage in such behavior will undergo a thorough evaluation and receive the necessary mental health treatment. By providing access to these resources, we empower individuals, rehabilitate them and prevent future offenses.

Criminal justice reform advocates and law enforcement, including Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart and the Safer Foundation — stakeholders that are almost always on opposing sides — united behind this thoughtful and landmark legislation.

The law is subject to review, including annual reports from the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, so that we continue to follow best practices and ensure the law is effective.

By addressing this often-forgotten issue, we are creating a safer environment for all. It’s an important step in the right direction and I am proud to have been part of it.

State Sen. Willie Preston, D-Chicago

Save on migrant housing

On the theory that housing migrants (and other currently unhoused persons) will cost Chicago money, Mayor Brandon Johnson and City Council ought to consider providing property tax relief to property owners who will house these people rent-free. This might facilitate better and faster assimilation than housing these people in shelters.

Hall Adams, Wilmette

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