HB 1342 could allow Marshallese Arkansans to serve as a law enforcement officer


A State Rep. from Northwest Arkansas is working to allow people in the Marshallese community to work as a law enforcement officer

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) – A new bill will allow Marshallese Arkansans to protect and serve our community.

Megan Godfrey is the State Representative for District 89.

She filed HB 1342, which will extend the eligibility for serving as a law enforcement officer to include people who are under the Compact of Free Association.

COFA allows non -U.S. Marshallese citizens to be in the country legally and be considered as non-immigrants.

Godfrey says the bill was a collaborative effort with local law enforcement and the Arkansas Coalition of Marshallese.

“The benefit is just promoting community safety and trust between diverse communities like ours in Northwest Arkansas and law enforcement,” Godfrey said.

“It’s an example of what being invisible is,” Found of Arkansas Coalition of Marshallese Melisa Laelan said. “You can live and go to school and study and work here but you do not have access to certain things, although you can enlist yourself into the military without a problem.”

Godfrey says the bill was introduced today in committee, where some minor phrasing changes were made.

It’ll be reintroduced as soon as the committee meets again.

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