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Home defense case triggers larger question of citizen disarmament by aliens

In Chicago and some other U.S. cities, members of occupying forces searching citizens for weapons need not be Americans.
In Chicago and some other U.S. cities, members of occupying forces searching citizens for weapons need not be Americans.Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Manslaughter charges have been filed against Youssef Abdel-Gawad, a Huntington Station man who shot an alleged burglar in what looks like a clear case of self-defense, News12 Long Island reported Monday.

Per a surveillance video provided by Abdel-Gawad’s family, “the alleged burglar is seen trying to enter a door. The burglar then pulls out a gun, and a flash is seen that appears to be the burglar firing a shot into the home.”

For their part, prosecutors argue they're going forward because, video notwithstanding, no bullet was found, and that has comment posters to the story, including those identifying themselves as ‘liberal,” scratching their heads, with some wondering what hasn't been disclosed. Someone who would know is the judge, who disregarded the prosecutor’s motion to have the defendant held on $50,000 bail and released Abdel-Gawad on condition that he wear a tracking device and surrender his passport.

That leads to another question, on top of why this man is being prosecuted in the first place. In the News12 report video, Abdel-Gawad’s family says “he is a criminal justice major who hopes to be a New York City Police officer, even passing the city test.”

The mention of the passport along with foreign origins of the family lead to speculation of permanent legal residence or naturalized citizenship, and that leads to the question of if a non-citizen can be given police powers.

Per NYPD’s recruiting website, “You do not have to be a United States citizen to take the Police Officer Exam, but you must be a United States citizen on or before the date of hire.”

That still raises the question of whether or not foreign nationals are empowered anywhere in this country to arrest citizens, and the answer to that is “Yes.” And in some pretty populous places.

“The City of Los Angeles requires that a Police Officer candidate be a United States citizen, or that a non-citizen be a permanent resident alien who, in accordance with the requirements of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), is eligible and has applied for citizenship,” LAPD advises on its website. “During the selection process, each non-citizen is required to prove that USCIS accepted his/her application for citizenship prior to the date the Police Officer written test was taken. California State law requires that citizenship be granted within three years after the employment application date.”

Chicago is even more inclusive of foreign enforcers.

“I am a citizen of a foreign country. Am I eligible to become a Chicago police officer?” one of their recruiting website's Frequently Asked Questions reads.

“Yes, as long as you have an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services,” is the answer provided. “Proof, such as an Alien Registration Card (Green Card) will be required if you are called for further processing.”

That leads to an interesting dilemma, as sworn Chicago police officers take the following oath:

“I ... {name} ... having been appointed to the office of Police Officer, City of Chicago, do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Illinois and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of the office of Police Officer, according to the best of my abilities.”

The disconnect is because, without also taking the Naturalization Oath to the United States of America, such officers will have not have sworn to “absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen.” How can one hold undivided allegiance to the Constitution without first doing that?

While some will correctly argue that swearing to support the Constitution is a moot point for domestic oath-breakers as well, one other concern is raised. At least in Chicago, and in any other municipalities with similar assignments of police powers to non-citizens, a situation exists where aliens could be employed to enforce disarmament edicts. Even if those edicts turn out later to be declared unconstitutional, as per the McDonald decision.

Considering the increased militarization of the police that has occurred in recent years, how is that different in theory and practice from government employing foreign troops to disarm citizens on American soil?

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