Arizona could soon require state corrections and detention officers to be American citizens, potentially eliminating hundreds of candidates who are legal permanent residents from applying for work.
That includes many veterans who work in corrections after serving in the military, according to testimony at a hearing Wednesday. The House Committee on Public Safety, Military and Regulatory Affairs passed a bill that would no longer allow permanent residents to apply to those positions, while also requiring proof of citizenship for all peace officers. The bill passed 5-3.
Peace officers already need to be citizens, but corrections and detention officers do not.
Republican Rep. Darin Mitchell, who sponsored the bill, said that is unfair to U.S. citizens who also qualify for those jobs. Mitchell says his district has a 34 percent unemployment rate and constituents expressed concern that some corrections jobs were going to non-citizens.
Rep. Ruben Gallego, a Democrat, strongly opposes the bill and says it will exclude hundreds of military veterans from applying for jobs.