DACA recipient on way to achieving dream of becoming Blue Island police officer

Leah Hope Image
Monday, February 27, 2023
DACA recipient on way to achieving dream of becoming police officer
A DACA recipient is on her way to achieving her dream of joining the Blue Island Police Department.

BLUE ISLAND, Ill. (WLS) -- Some law enforcement agencies won't consider applicants who are not citizens.

Mitchell Soto Rodriguez knew that, but she still pursued her dream of being an officer.

This came after a kind encounter with a Spanish-speaking officer when she was a teen. Her persistence and a move by Blue Island city officials to be more inclusive led to Rodriguez being sworn in last month.

"I still can't believe - I'm like am I going to wake up and it's all a dream. But, no! I'm really excited," Rodriguez said.

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Rodriquez is a security officer at Eisenhower High School in Blue Island, where she graduated. She has a degree in criminal justice and is a DACA recipient.

Her boss, the police chief and the mayor, who is first-generation, discussed the barrier of the citizenship requirement and changed it.

"Hopefully, it's not the first town that does this around here," said Mayor Ferdinando Bilotto. "It's another opportunity for anyone looking for the American dream, that cliché, right, but why not? Why stop an opportunity?"

Rodriguez starts the police academy for Blue Island next month.

"It opens a lot of doors, not just for me but maybe other people who have the same dreams," Rodriguez said. "I just can't believe it. Makes me want to cry sometimes. I have a lot of angels. I have them right here with me."

Rodriguez and city officials hope others will consider her career path and other departments will consider applicants regardless of their status.