Lawmaker objects to proposed legislation allowing non-citizens to join fire departments

Illinois state Representative La Shawn Ford, a Democrat from Chicago, believes that the legislation allowing non-citizens to join the Chicago Fire Department fails to effectively address the long-standing issue of systemic discrimination within the department.

House Bill 4045, as initially proposed, aims to make amendments to both the Illinois Municipal Code and the Fire Protection District Act. The main objective is to enable non-citizens who are legally authorized to work in the country under federal law to apply for the position of firefighter, provided they meet all other requirements and limitations.

“I really hope the sponsor decides to withdraw the bill. It’s crucial that we address not only the hiring practices but also ensure there are some standards in place. After all, we’re talking about taxpayer dollars here,” Ford expressed to The Center Square. “It’s absolutely unacceptable to have any form of racism or discrimination in our hiring and promotion processes. Every individual should have an equal opportunity to be employed in these roles.”

According to Ford, the measure is merely a temporary solution for a much larger problem. He believes that the Chicago Fire Department has a long history of discriminatory hiring practices and that there has been insufficient action taken in Springfield to resolve this issue.

“I strongly disagree with the fact that the bill is incomplete,” he emphasized. “We should aim to enhance an already flawed system. There are still individuals who have applied or are in the process of applying, but unfortunately, they face rejections. The most effective approach would be to address the existing concerns raised by those who have experienced discrimination.”

Ford also acknowledged the concerns raised by many in the Black community regarding the immediate support and assistance provided to migrant arrivals by the government, a level of help that has not been extended to many members of his own community.

He emphasized the need for a specific agenda for the Black community, stating, “It seems like there is a clear agenda for this population, and I strongly believe that Black people should also have their own agenda. We should take charge and develop an agenda to address the racism and discrimination that exists in Chicago and throughout Illinois. Just like the migrant population, we need to strive for progress, uplift our communities, and support our families. It’s time for Black people to have an agenda and relentlessly pursue it until we see tangible change.”

Ford expressed a desire for the fire department to increase recruitment efforts in high schools, city colleges, and trade schools, as well as among the unemployed population, in order to create a more diverse pool of candidates.

HB4045 underwent an amendment that removed the reference to non-citizens, while still maintaining the provision that allows firefighters to be individuals who are legally authorized to work in the United States. This bill successfully passed the House Police and Fire Committee and is now awaiting further action on the legislative floor.

Reference Article

Avatar photo
MBS Staff
Articles: 5610

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *