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Aclu Know Your Rights When Encountering Law Enforcement

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KNOW YOUR RIGHTS

KNOW
YOUR
RIGHTS
WHEN ENCOUNTERING
LAW ENFORCEMENT

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS

KNOW

YOUR

RIGHTS
WHEN ENCOUNTERING
LAW ENFORCEMENT

This booklet addresses what rights you have when you are
stopped, questioned, arrested, or searched by law enforcement
officers. This booklet is for citizens and non-citizens with extra
information for non-citizens in a separate section. Another section covers what can happen to you at airports and other points of
entry into the United States. The last section discusses concerns
you may have related to your charitable contributions and religious or political beliefs.
This booklet tells you about your basic rights. It is not a substitute
for legal advice. You should contact an attorney if you have been
arrested or believe that your rights have been violated.

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KNOW YOUR RIGHTS

I. QUESTIONING
Q: What kind of law enforcement officers might try to
question me?
A: You could be questioned by a variety of law enforcement
officers, including state or local police officers, Joint Terrorism
Task Force members, or federal agents from the FBI,
Department of Homeland Security (which includes
Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Border
Patrol), Drug Enforcement Administration, Naval Criminal
Investigative Service, or other agencies.

Q: Do I have to answer questions asked by law
enforcement officers?
A: No. You have the constitutional right to remain silent. In
general, you do not have to talk to law enforcement officers (or
anyone else), even if you do not feel free to walk away from the
officer, you are arrested, or you are in jail. You cannot be punished for refusing to answer a question. It is a good idea to
talk to a lawyer before agreeing to answer questions. In general, only a judge can order you to answer questions.
(Non-citizens should see Section IV for more information on
this topic.)

Q: Are there any exceptions to the general rule that I do
not have to answer questions?
A: Yes, there are two limited exceptions. First, in some states,
you must provide your name to law enforcement officers if you
are stopped and told to identify yourself. But even if you give
your name, you are not required to answer other questions.
Second, if you are driving and you are pulled over for a traffic
violation, the officer can require you to show your license,
vehicle registration and proof of insurance (but you do not
have to answer questions). (Non-citizens should see Section IV
for more information on this topic.)

Q: Can I talk to a lawyer before answering questions?
A: Yes. You have the constitutional right to talk to a lawyer
before answering questions, whether or not the police tell you
about that right. The lawyer’s job is to protect your rights.
Once you say that you want to talk to a lawyer, officers should
stop asking you questions. If they continue to ask questions,
you still have the right to remain silent. If you do not have a

lawyer, you may still tell the officer you want to speak to one before
answering questions. If you do have a lawyer, keep his or her business
card with you. Show it to the officer, and ask to call your lawyer.
Remember to get the name, agency and telephone number of any law
enforcement officer who stops or visits you, and give that information to
your lawyer.

Q: What if I speak to law enforcement officers anyway?
A: Anything you say to a law enforcement officer can be used against you
and others. Keep in mind that lying to a government official is a crime
but remaining silent until you consult with a lawyer is not. Even if you
have already answered some questions, you can refuse to answer other
questions until you have a lawyer.

Q: What if law enforcement officers threaten me with a grand
jury subpoena if I don’t answer their questions? (A grand jury
subpoena is a written order for you to go to court and testify
about information you may have.)
A: If a law enforcement officer threatens to get a subpoena, you still do
not have to answer the officer’s questions right then and there, and anything you do say can be used against you. The officer may or may not
succeed in getting the subpoena. If you receive a subpoena or an officer
threatens to get one for you, you should call a lawyer right away. If you
are given a subpoena, you must follow the subpoena’s direction about
when and where to report to the court, but you can still assert your right
not to say anything that could be used against you in a criminal case.

Q: What if I am asked to meet with officers for a
“counter-terrorism interview”?
A: You have the right to say that you do not want to be interviewed, to
have an attorney present, to set the time and place for the interview, to
find out the questions they will ask beforehand, and to answer only the
questions you feel comfortable answering. If you are taken into custody
for any reason, you have the right to remain silent. No matter what,
assume that nothing you say is off the record. And remember that it is a
criminal offense to knowingly lie to an officer.

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II. STOPS AND ARRESTS
Q: What if law enforcement officers stop me on the street?
A: You do not have to answer any questions. You can say, “I do
not want to talk to you” and walk away calmly. Or, if you do not
feel comfortable doing that, you can ask if you are free to go. If
the answer is yes, you can consider just walking away. Do not
run from the officer. If the officer says you are not under
arrest, but you are not free to go, then you are being detained.
Being detained is not the same as being arrested, though an
arrest could follow. The police can pat down the outside of
your clothing only if they have “reasonable suspicion” (i.e., an
objective reason to suspect) that you might be armed and dangerous. If they search any more than this, say clearly, “I do not
consent to a search.” If they keep searching anyway, do not
physically resist them. You do not need to answer any questions
if you are detained or arrested, except that the police may ask
for your name once you have been detained, and you can be
arrested in some states for refusing to provide it. (Non-citizens
should see Section IV for more information on this topic.)

Q: What if law enforcement officers stop me in my car?
A: Keep your hands where the police can see them. You must
show your drivers license, registration and proof of insurance
if you are asked for these documents. Officers can also ask
you to step outside of the car, and they may separate passengers and drivers from each other to question them and
compare their answers, but no one has to answer any questions. The police cannot search your car unless you give them
your consent, which you do not have to give, or unless they
have “probable cause” to believe (i.e., knowledge of facts sufficient to support a reasonable belief) that criminal activity is
likely taking place, that you have been involved in a crime, or
that you have evidence of a crime in your car. If you do not
want your car searched, clearly state that you do not consent.
The officer cannot use your refusal to give consent as a basis
for doing a search.

Q: What should I do if law enforcement officers arrest me?
A: The officer must advise you of your constitutional rights to
remain silent, to an attorney, and to have an attorney appointed if you cannot afford one. You should exercise all these
rights, even if the officers don’t tell you about them. Do not tell

the police anything except your name. Anything else you say can and will
be used against you. Ask to see a lawyer immediately. Within a reasonable amount of time after your arrest or booking you have the right to a
phone call. Law enforcement officers may not listen to a call you make
to your lawyer, but they can listen to calls you make to other people. You
must be taken before a judge as soon as possible—generally within 48
hours of your arrest at the latest. (See Section IV for information about
arrests for noncriminal immigration violations.)

Q: Do I have to answer questions if I have been arrested?
A: No. If you are arrested, you do not have to answer any questions or
volunteer any information. Ask for a lawyer right away. Repeat this
request to every officer who tries to talk to or question you. You should
always talk to a lawyer before you decide to answer any questions.

Q: What if I am treated badly by law enforcement officers?
A: Write down the officer’s badge number, name or other identifying
information. You have a right to ask the officer for this information. Try to
find witnesses and their names and phone numbers. If you are injured,
seek medical attention and take pictures of the injuries as soon as you
can. Call a lawyer or contact your local ACLU office. You should also
make a complaint to the law enforcement office responsible for the
treatment.

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III. SEARCHES AND WARRANTS
Q: Can law enforcement officers search my home or office?
A: Law enforcement officers can search your home only if they
have a warrant or your consent. In your absence, the police can
search your home based on the consent of your roommate or a
guest if the police reasonably believe that person has the
authority to consent. Law enforcement officers can search your
office only if they have a warrant or the consent of the employer. If your employer consents to a search of your office, law
enforcement officers can search your workspace whether you
consent or not.

Q: What are warrants and what should I make sure
they say?
A: A warrant is a piece of paper signed by a judge giving law
enforcement officers permission to enter a home or other
building to do a search or make an arrest. A search warrant
allows law enforcement officers to enter the place described in
the warrant to look for and take items identified in the warrant.
An arrest warrant allows law enforcement officers to take you
into custody. An arrest warrant alone does not give law
enforcement officers the right to search your home (but they
can look in places where you might be hiding and they can take
evidence that is in plain sight), and a search warrant alone
does not give them the right to arrest you (but they can arrest
you if they find enough evidence to justify an arrest). A warrant
must contain the judge’s name, your name and address, the
date, place to be searched, a description of any items being
searched for, and the name of the agency that is conducting
the search or arrest. An arrest warrant that does not have your
name on it may still be validly used for your arrest if it
describes you with enough detail to identify you, and a search
warrant that does not have your name on it may still be valid if
it gives the correct address and description of the place the
officers will be searching. However, the fact that a piece of
paper says “warrant” on it does not always mean that it is an
arrest or search warrant. A warrant of deportation/removal,
for example, is a kind of administrative warrant and does not
grant the same authority to enter a home or other building to
do a search or make an arrest.

Q: What should I do if officers come to my house?
A: If law enforcement officers knock on your door, instead of opening
the door, ask through the door if they have a warrant. If the answer is
no, do not let them into your home and do not answer any questions or
say anything other than “I do not want to talk to you.” If the officers say
that they do have a warrant, ask the officers to slip it under the door (or
show it to you through a peephole, a window in your door, or a door that
is open only enough to see the warrant). If you feel you must open the
door, then step outside, close the door behind you and ask to see the
warrant. Make sure the search warrant contains everything noted above,
and tell the officers if they are at the wrong address or if you see some
other mistake in the warrant. (And remember that an immigration “warrant of removal/deportation” does not give the officer the authority to
enter your home.) If you tell the officers that the warrant is not complete or not accurate, you should say you do not consent to the search,
but you should not interfere if the officers decide to do the search even
after you have told them they are mistaken. Call your lawyer as soon as
possible. Ask if you are allowed to watch the search; if you are allowed
to, you should. Take notes, including names, badge numbers, which
agency each officer is from, where they searched and what they took. If
others are present, have them act as witnesses to watch carefully what
is happening.

Q: Do I have to answer questions if law enforcement officers
have a search or arrest warrant?
A: No. Neither a search nor arrest warrant means you have to answer
questions.

Q: What if law enforcement officers do not have a search warrant?
A: You do not have to let law enforcement officers search your home,
and you do not have to answer their questions. Law enforcement officers
cannot get a warrant based on your refusal, nor can they punish you for
refusing to give consent.

Q: What if law enforcement officers tell me they will come back
with a search warrant if I do not let them in?
A: You can still tell them that you do not consent to the search and that
they need to get a warrant. The officers may or may not succeed in getting a warrant if they follow through and ask the court for one, but once
you give your consent, they do not need to try to get the court’s permission to do the search.

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KNOW YOUR RIGHTS

Q: What if law enforcement officers do not have a search
warrant, but they insist on searching my home even
after I object?
A: You should not interfere with the search in any way because
you could get arrested. But you should say clearly that you
have not given your consent and that the search is against your
wishes. If someone is there with you, ask him or her to witness
that you are not giving permission for the search. Call your
lawyer as soon as possible. Take note of the names and badge
numbers of the searching officers.

IV. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FOR NON-CITIZENS
In the United States, non-citizens are persons who do not have U.S. citizenship, including lawful permanent residents, refugees and asylum
seekers, persons who have permission to come to the U.S. for reasons
like work, school or travel, and those without legal immigration status of
any kind. Non-citizens who are in the United States—no matter what
their immigration status—generally have the same constitutional rights
as citizens when law enforcement officers stop, question, arrest, or
search them or their homes. However, there are some special concerns
that apply to non-citizens, so the following rights and responsibilities are
important for non-citizens to know. Non-citizens at the border who are
trying to enter the U.S. do not have all the same rights. See Section V for
more information if you are arriving in the U.S.

Q: What types of law enforcement officers may try to question me?
A: Different kinds of law enforcement officers might question you or ask
you to agree to an interview where they would ask questions about your
background, immigration status, relatives, colleagues and other topics.
You may encounter the full range of law enforcement officers listed in
Section I.

Q. What can I do if law enforcement officers want to question me?
A: You have the same right to be silent that U.S. citizens have, so the
general rule is that you do not have to answer any questions that a law
enforcement officer asks you. However, there are exceptions to this at
ports of entry, such as airports and borders (see Section V).

Q: Do I have to answer questions about whether I am a U.S. citizen, where I was born, where I live, where I am from, or other
questions about my immigration status?
A: You do not have to answer any of the above questions if you do not
want to answer them. But do not falsely claim U.S. citizenship. It is
almost always a good idea to speak with a lawyer before you answer
questions about your immigration status. Immigration law is very complicated, and you could have a problem without realizing it. A lawyer can
help protect your rights, advise you, and help you avoid a problem.
Always remember that even if you have answered some questions, you
can still decide you do not want to answer any more questions.
For “nonimmigrants” (a “nonimmigrant” is a non-citizen who is
authorized to be in the U.S. for a particular reason or activity, usually for
a limited period of time, such as a person with a tourist, student, or
work visa), there is one limited exception to the rule that non-citizens

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who are already in the U.S. do not have to answer law enforcement officers’ questions: immigration officers can require
nonimmigrants to provide information related to their immigration status. However, even if you are a nonimmigrant, you can still
say that you would like to have your lawyer with you before you
answer questions, and you have the right to stay silent if your
answer to a question could be used against you in a criminal case.

Q: Do I have to show officers my immigration documents?
A: The law requires non-citizens who are 18 or older and who
have been issued valid U.S. immigration documents to carry
those documents with them at all times. (These immigration
documents are often called “alien registration” documents.
The type you need to carry depends on your immigration status. Some examples include an unexpired permanent resident
card (“green card”), I-94, Employment Authorization Document
(EAD), or border crossing card.) Failure to comply carry these
documents can be a misdemeanor crime.
If you have your valid U.S. immigration documents and
you are asked for them, then it is usually a good idea to show
them to the officer because it is possible that you will be
arrested if you do not do so. Keep a copy of your documents in
a safe place and apply for a replacement immediately if you
lose your documents or if they are going to expire. If you are
arrested because you do not have your U.S. immigration documents with you, but you have them elsewhere, ask a friend or
family member (preferably one who has valid immigration status) to bring them to you.
It is never a good idea to show an officer fake immigration documents or to pretend that someone else’s immigration
documents are yours. If you are undocumented and therefore
do not have valid U.S. immigration documents, you can decide
not to answer questions about your citizenship or immigration
status or whether you have documents. If you tell an immigration officer that you are not a U.S. citizen and you then cannot
produce valid U.S. immigration documents, there is a very good
chance you will be arrested.

Q: What should I do if there is an immigration raid
where I work?
A: If your workplace is raided, it may not be clear to you
whether you are free to leave. Either way, you have the right to
remain silent—you do not have to answer questions about your
citizenship, immigration status or anything else. If you do

answer questions and you say that you are not a U.S. citizen, you will be
expected to produce immigration documents showing your immigration
status. If you try to run away, the immigration officers will assume that
you are in the U.S. illegally and you will likely be arrested. The safer
course is to continue with your work or calmly ask if you may leave, and
to not answer any questions you do not want to answer. (If you are a
“nonimmigrant,” see above.)

Q: What can I do if immigration officers are arresting me and I
have children in my care or my children need to be picked up
and taken care of?
A: If you have children with you when you are arrested, ask the officers
if you can call a family member or friend to come take care of them
before the officers take you away. If you are arrested when your children
are at school or elsewhere, call a friend or family member as soon as
possible so that a responsible adult will be able to take care of them.

Q: What should I do if immigration officers arrest me?
A: Assert your rights. Non-citizens have rights that are important for
their immigration cases. You do not have to answer questions. You can
tell the officer you want to speak with a lawyer. You do not have to sign
anything giving up your rights, and should never sign anything without
reading, understanding and knowing the consequences of signing it. If
you do sign a waiver, immigration agents could try to deport you before
you see a lawyer or a judge. The immigration laws are hard to understand. There may be options for you that the immigration officers will
not explain to you. You should talk to a lawyer before signing anything or
making a decision about your situation. If possible, carry with you the
name and telephone number of a lawyer who will take your calls.

Q: Do I have the right to talk to a lawyer before answering any
law enforcement officers’ questions or signing any immigration
papers?
A: Yes. You have the right to call a lawyer or your family if you are
detained, and you have the right to be visited by a lawyer in detention.
You have the right to have your attorney with you at any hearing before
an immigration judge. You do not have the right to a governmentappointed attorney for immigration proceedings, but immigration
officials must give you a list of free or low-cost legal service providers.
You have the right to hire your own immigration attorney.

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Q: If I am arrested for immigration violations, do I have
the right to a hearing before an immigration judge to
defend myself against deportation charges?
A: Yes. In most cases only an immigration judge can order you
deported. But if you waive your rights, sign something called a
“Stipulated Removal Order,” or take “voluntary departure,”
agreeing to leave the country, you could be deported without a
hearing. There are some reasons why a person might not have
a right to see an immigration judge, but even if you are told
that this is your situation, you should speak with a lawyer
immediately—immigration officers do not always know or tell
you about exceptions that may apply to you; and you could have
a right that you do not know about. Also, it is very important
that you tell the officer (and contact a lawyer) immediately if
you fear persecution or torture in your home country—you have
additional rights if you have this fear, and you may be able to
win the right to stay here.

Q: Can I be detained while my immigration case is
happening?
A: In many cases, you will be detained, but most people are
eligible to be released on bond or other reporting conditions. If
you are denied release after you are arrested for an immigration violation, ask for a bond hearing before an immigration
judge. In many cases, an immigration judge can order that you
be released or that your bond be lowered.

Q: Can I call my consulate if I am arrested?
A: Yes. Non-citizens arrested in the U.S. have the right to call
their consulate or to have the law enforcement officer tell the
consulate of your arrest. Law enforcement must let your consulate visit or speak with you if consular officials decide to do so.
Your consulate might help you find a lawyer or offer other help.

Q: What happens if I give up my right to a hearing or
leave the U.S. before the hearing is over?
A: If you are deported, you could lose your eligibility for certain
immigration benefits, and you could be barred from returning
to the U.S. for a number of years or, in some cases, permanently. The same is true if you do not go to your hearing and
the immigration judge rules against you in your absence. If the
government allows you to do “voluntary departure,” you may
avoid some of the problems that come with having a deporta-

tion order and you may have a better chance at having a future opportunity to return to the U.S., but you should discuss your case with a lawyer
because even with voluntary departure, there can be bars to returning,
and you may be eligible for relief in immigration court. You should
always talk to an immigration lawyer before you decide to give up your
right to a hearing.

Q: What should I do if I want to contact immigration officials?
A: Always try to talk to a lawyer before contacting immigration officials,
even on the phone. Many immigration officials view “enforcement” as
their primary job and will not explain all of your options to you, and you
could have a problem with your immigration status without knowing it.

Q: What if I am charged with a crime?
A: Criminal convictions can make you deportable. You should always
speak with your lawyer about the effect that a conviction or plea could
have on your immigration status. Do not agree to a plea bargain without
understanding if it could make you deportable or ineligible for relief or
for citizenship.

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V. RIGHTS AT AIRPORTS AND OTHER PORTS
OF ENTRY INTO THE UNITED STATES
REMEMBER: It is illegal for law enforcement officers to
perform any stops, searches, detentions or removals based
solely on your race, national origin, religion, sex or ethnicity.
However, Customs and Border Protection officials can stop you
based on citizenship or travel itinerary at the border and
search all bags.

Q: What types of officers could I encounter at the airport
and at the border?
A: You may encounter any of the full range of law enforcement
officers listed above in Section I. In particular, at airports and
at the border you are likely to encounter customs agents,
immigration officers, and Transportation and Safety
Administration (TSA) officers.

Q: If I am entering the U.S. with valid travel papers, can
law enforcement officers stop and search me?
A: Yes. Customs officers have the right to stop, detain and
search any person or item. But officers cannot select you for a
personal search based on your race, gender, religious or ethnic
background. If you are a non-citizen, you should carry your
green card or other valid immigration status documents at all
times.

Q: Can law enforcement officers ask questions about my
immigration status?
A: Yes. At airports, law enforcement officers have the power to
determine whether or not you have the right or permission to
enter or return to the U.S.

Q: If I am selected for a longer interview when I am
coming into the United States, what can I do?
A: If you are a U.S. citizen, you have the right to have an attorney present for any questioning. If you are a non-citizen, you
generally do not have the right to an attorney when you have
arrived at an airport or another port of entry and an immigration officer is inspecting you to decide whether or not you will
be admitted. However, you do have the right to an attorney if
the questions relate to anything other than your immigration
status. You can ask an officer if he or she will allow you to

answer extended questioning at a later time, but the request may or may
not be granted. If you are not a U.S. citizen and an officer says you cannot come into the U.S., but you fear that you will be persecuted or
tortured if sent back to the country you came from, tell the officer about
your fear and say that you want asylum.

Q: Can law enforcement officers search my laptop files? If they
do, can they make copies of the files, or information from my
address book, papers, or cell phone contacts?
A: This issue is contested right now. Generally, law enforcement officers
can search your laptop files and make copies of information contained in
the files. If such a search occurs, you should write down the name,
badge number, and agency of the person who conducted the search. You
should also file a complaint with that agency.

Q: Can my bags or I be searched after going through metal
detectors with no problem or after security sees that my bags do
not contain a weapon?
A: Yes. Even if the initial screen of your bags reveals nothing suspicious,
the screeners have the authority to conduct a further search of you or
your bags.

Q: What if I wear a religious head covering and I am selected by
airport security officials for additional screening?
A: You have the right to wear religious head coverings. You should assert
your right to wear your religious head covering if asked to remove it. The
current policy (which is subject to change) relating to airport screeners
and requiring removal of religious head coverings, such as a turban or
hijab, is that if an alarm goes off when you walk through the metal
detector the TSA officer may then use a hand-wand to determine if the
alarm is coming from your religious head covering. If the alarm is coming from your religious head covering the TSA officer may want to
pat-down or have you remove your religious head covering. You have the
right to request that this pat-down or removal occur in a private area. If
no alarm goes off when you go through the metal detector the TSA officer may nonetheless determine that additional screening is required for
non-metallic items. Additional screening cannot be required on a discriminatory basis (because of race, gender, religion, national origin or
ancestry). The TSA officer will ask you if he or she can pat-down your
religious head covering. If you do not want the TSA officer to touch your
religious head covering you must refuse and say that you would prefer to
pat-down your own religious head covering. You will then be taken aside
and a TSA officer will supervise you as you pat-down your religious head

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covering. After the pat-down the TSA officer will rub your
hands with a small cotton cloth and place it in a machine to
test for chemical residue. If you pass this chemical residue
test, you should be allowed to proceed to your flight. If the TSA
officer insists on the removal of your religious head covering
you have a right to ask that it be done in a private area.

Q: What if I am selected for a strip search?
A: A strip search at the border is not a routine search and
must be supported by “reasonable suspicion,” and must be
done in a private area.

Q: If I am on an airplane, can an airline employee interrogate me or ask me to get off the plane?
A: The pilot of an airplane has the right to refuse to fly a passenger if he or she believes the passenger is a threat to the
safety of the flight. The pilot’s decision must be reasonable and
based on observations of you, not stereotypes.

Q: What do I do if I am questioned by law enforcement
officers every time I travel by air and I believe I am on a
“no-fly” or other “national security” list?
A: If you believe you are mistakenly on a list you should contact
the Transportation Security Administration and file an inquiry
using the Traveler Redress Inquiry Process. The form is available at
http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/customer/redress/index.shtm.
You should also fill out a complaint form with the ACLU at
http://www.aclu.org/noflycomplaint. If you think there may be
some legitimate reason for why you have been placed on a list,
you should seek the advice of an attorney.

Q: If I believe that customs or airport agents or airline
employees singled me out because of my race, ethnicity,
or religion or that I was mistreated in other ways, what
information should I record during and after the incident?
A: It is important to record the details of the incident while they
are fresh in your mind. When documenting the sequence of
events, be sure to note the airport, airline, flight number, the
names and badge numbers of any law enforcement officers
involved, information on any airline or airport personnel
involved, questions asked in any interrogation, stated reason

for treatment, types of searches conducted, and length and conditions of
detention. When possible, it is helpful to have a witness to the incident. If
you have been mistreated or singled out at the airport based on your
race, ethnicity or religion, please fill out the Passenger Profiling
Complaint Form on the ACLU’s web site at http://www.aclu.org/airlineprofiling, and file a complaint with the U.S. Department of
Transportation at
http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/DiscrimComplaintsContacts.htm.

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Other Resources:
DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
http://www.dhs.gov/xabout/structure/editorial_0373.shtm
Investigates abuses of civil rights, civil liberties, and profiling
on the basis of race, ethnicity, or religion by employees and
officials of the Department of Homeland Security. You can submit your complaint via email to civil.liberties@dhs.gov.
U.S. Department of Transportation’s Aviation Consumer
Protection Division
http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/problems.htm
Handles complaints against the airline for mistreatment by air
carrier personnel (check-in, gate staff, plane staff, pilot),
including discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion,
sex, national origin, ancestry, or disability. You can submit a
complaint via email to airconsumer@ost.dot.gov—see the webpage for what information to include.
U.S. Department of Transportation’s Aviation Consumer
Protection Division Resource Page
http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/DiscrimComplaintsContacts.htm
Provides information about how and where to file complaints
about discriminatory treatment by air carrier personnel, federal security screeners (e.g., personnel screening and searching
passengers and carry-on baggage at airport security checkpoints), airport personnel (e.g., airport police), FBI,
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), U.S. Border
Patrol, Customs and Border Protection, and National Guard.

VI. CHARITABLE DONATIONS AND RELIGIOUS
PRACTICES
Q: Can I give to a charity organization without becoming a
terror suspect?
A: Yes. You should continue to give money to the causes you believe
in, but you should be careful in choosing which charities to support.
For helpful tips, see Muslim Advocates’ guide on charitable giving—
http://www.muslimadvocates.org/docs/DonorGuidance101106.pdf.

Q: Is it safe for me to practice my religion in religious
institutions or public places?
A: Yes. Worshipping as you want is your constitutional right. You
have the right to go to a place of worship, attend and hear sermons
and religious lectures, participate in community activities, and pray
in public. While there have been news stories recently about people
being unfairly singled out for doing these things, the law is on your
side to protect you.

Q: What else can I do to be prepared?
A: You should keep informed about issues that matter to you by
going to the library, reading the news, surfing the internet, and
speaking out about what is important to you. In case of emergency,
you should have a family plan—the number of a good friend or
relative that anyone in the family can call if they need help, as well
as the number of an attorney. If you are a non-citizen, remember to
carry your immigration documents with you.

21

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS

REFERRAL CONTACT INFORMATION
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC):
(202) 244-2990
http://www.adc.org/
American Immigration Law Foundation (AILF):
(202) 742-5600
http://www.ailf.org/
American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA):
(800) 954-0254
http://www.aila.org/
Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF):
(212) 966-5932
https://www.aaldef.org/
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR):
(202) 488-8787
http://www.cair.com/
Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF):
(213) 629-2512
http://www.maldef.org/
National Lawyers Guild (NLG):
(212) 679-5100
http://www.nlg.org/
National Immigration Law Center (NILC):
(213) 639-3900
http://www.nilc.org/
NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund (NAACP LDF):
(212) 965-2200
http://www.naacpldf.org/
National Immigration Project:
(617) 227-9727
http://www.nationalimmigrationproject.org/
Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund (PRLDEF):
(800) 328-2322
http://www.prldef.org/
South Asian American Leaders of Tomorrow (SAALT):
(310) 270-1855
http://www.saalt.org/
U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (UCCR):
(800) 552-6843
http://www.usccr.gov/

23

PUBLISHED BY:
The ACLU Racial Justice Program, ACLU National
Security Project, ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project,
and the ACLU of Southern California.
125 Broad Street, 18th Floor
New York, NY 10004-2400
www.aclu.org
THE AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION is the nation’s
premier guardian of liberty, working daily in courts,
legislatures and communities to defend and preserve
the individual rights and freedoms guaranteed by the
Constitution and the laws of the United States.

 

 

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