The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) ordered this week that the the Denver Sheriff’s Department must pay a $10,000 fine for not hiring non-U.S. citizens.
According to KDVR, the DOJ concluded that requiring job applicants for deputy positions to be citizens was illegal, discriminatory and violated the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
Here’s what an excerpt of the release from the Office of Public Affairs.
The Justice Department’s investigation found that from approximately Jan. 1, 2015, until approximately March 23, 2016, the Denver Sheriff Department discriminated based on citizenship status by requiring applicants for deputy sheriff positions to be U.S. citizens and publishing job postings with U.S. citizenship requirements, in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The INA’s anti-discrimination provision prohibits employers from limiting jobs to U.S. citizens except where the employer is required to do so by law, regulation, executive order or government contract. The Denver Sheriff Department was not subject to one of the INA’s exceptions.
You can read that full statement here.
The department also agreed to reevaluate applicants who may have been ruled out, this time without regard for the citizenship status.
On Twitter, the department said the violation was not committed intentionally.
ABC News has a helpful explainer about the effects of the Immigration and Nationality Act:
The Immigration and Nationality Act’s anti-discrimination provision’s requires most employers to consider people who are not U.S. citizens, as long as they have a work permit.
Yet the federal law also allows police departments to impose hiring restrictions based on citizenship status as long as they are the result of state law or government mandate, not internal policies.
More than 40 states have rules in place keeping law enforcement agencies from hiring non-citizens. Only Colorado, Louisiana, Maine, Vermont and West Virginia have no such statewide citizenship restrictions, according to an October Justice Department report addressing the subject.
Colorado is not a state that has rules preventing departments from hiring non-citizens with work permits.