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Feds Bust Denver Sheriff For Refusing To Hire Foreigners

The federal Justice Department has imposed a hefty fine on the Denver Sheriff’s Department for its allegedly discriminatory hiring practices.

According to American Web Media, the sheriff had a policy of employing only U.S. citizens. Of course, applicants had to meet other job requirements, as well. But those born outside the country were routinely rejected.

The policy went into effect when the department significantly increased the number of officers on the payroll in an effort to reduce its budget for overtime hours.

Advertisements announcing the additional job openings stipulated that only U.S. citizens would be considered. Some people applauded the rule, while others opposed it.

Two hundred newly hired deputies were patrolling Denver’s streets by the spring of 2016. Other officers reportedly expressed relief that the Colorado city was paying more people to help share the workload.

There was little controversy about the policy until the Justice Department intervened. Following an investigation, the agency fined the Sheriff’s Department $10,000 for deliberately discriminating against foreign-born job applicants.

The federal agency required the local department to abide by regulations designed to ensure fair hiring practices.

In a written statement, sheriff spokeswoman Simon Crittle claimed that the 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.” She added: “While we didn’t commit this violation intentionally, we accept responsibility and are taking steps to clarify policy and amend language in hiring documents.”

The Denver department is not the only law-enforcement agency in the United States that has come under fire for biased hiring practices. Police critics claim the discrimination mirrors the racism of many officers and is one of the reasons for conflicts between law enforcement and minority communities.

Some police and sheriff’s departments have responded by amending their policies and making more of an effort to increase racial diversity. When the authorities in Colorado agreed to change their job requirements, the Justice Department praised them.

“We commend the Denver Sheriff’s Department for its cooperation and commitment to removing unnecessary and unlawful employment barriers,” wrote Vanita Gupta, the principal deputy assistant attorney general who is in charge of the agency’s Civil Rights Division. “Eliminating this unlawful citizenship requirement will help ensure that the Denver Sheriff’s Department hires the best and most qualified individuals to protect and serve. The entire community will benefit from these reforms.”

Mark Krikorian, who heads the anti-migrant Center for Immigration Studies, also weighed in on the issue. “We’re handing over a gun and a badge to somebody whose background we don’t really know a lot about,” he warned in a written statement.

Immigrant rights’ groups lauded the Justice Department for taking action.

American Web Media encouraged its readers to offer their opinions. The website asked: “Do you think illegal immigrants should be banned from joining the police force?”

The question was clearly biased. Federal authorities never accused the Denver Sheriff’s Department of turning away only foreigners who were living illegally in the United States. The former policy also applied to those who were seeking to obtain American citizenship.

Source: AWM
Photos: AWM, Jeffrey Beall/Flickr, Gulbenk/Wikimedia

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