Know Your Rights (AMEMSA)

Dec 13, 2019

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Asian middle eastern know your rights

Rights at Airports and Borders: Searches

Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian (AMEMSA) communities frequently face requests for “interviews” by federal and sometimes local law enforcement. These interviews have been distressing for many community members.

AMEMSA communities and people perceived to be members of these communities also face hate incidents and hate crimes.

The federal government and local authorities working with them have subjected AMEMSA communities to surveillance in several ways, including:

  1. Placing informants in community and religious organizations.
  2. Encouraging the broader public to report “suspicious activity” which often results in prejudicial reports about AMEMSA community members that are then followed up on by law enforcement.
  3. Physical surveillance of community members.
  4. Collection of information about community members through use of various surveillance technologies and through monitoring of online activity.

The civil rights community is here to support AMEMSA communities. Our Know Your Rights Materials is available in English, Arabic, and Farsi.You can also contact us if you have legal concerns about something that happened to you or your community, to request a “Know Your Rights” presentation, and for additional information and materials. We speak Arabic, Dari, Farsi, Hindi, Pashto, Spanish, Urdu, and other Asian languages.

If you need assistance because a friend or family member has been detained at the San Francisco International Airport or the Oakland International Airport, please contact You can also contact our intake counselors using the instructions here. You may also try contacting U.S. Customs and Border Protection at the San Francisco International Airport directly at 650-877-4000.

Download the guide:

» English

» Arabic

» Farsi