Know Your Rights

Warmup reading for our upcoming interview with a civil rights lawyer

ACLU-Know-your-rights
Image courtesy of The ACLU

In advance of this week’s Small Stones interview with a civil rights attorney (coming soon!), we’ve been thinking about how much we, personally, know about our individual rights. For sure, we’re quite privileged ourselves—white, highly-educated, and relatively wealthy—allowing us to mostly assume we’ll be treated legally and fairly. But, we’re both women, one of us is a religious minority, and the other has been pregnant, so we we’ve felt some fear, too.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has lots of handy “Know your rights” guides: if you have an encounter with the police, if you experience voter intimidation, if you’re a religious minority, an immigrant, pregnant, work in a nail salon, and so forth. Below, we excerpt their summary of rights if you’re a Muslim (or perceived as Muslim) and experiencing discrimination at the airport. You can read the full text here.

Your Rights at the Airport and the Border

The Constitution and federal law prohibit customs and border agents from performing stops, searches, detentions, or removals based solely on religion, race, national origin, gender, ethnicity, or political beliefs.

You have the right to:

Be free from discriminatory questioning at the airport or border. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers have the authority to ask your immigration status when you are entering or returning to the United States or leaving the country. They have the power to determine whether non-U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents have the right to enter the country. If you are a U.S. citizen and you have presented a valid passport, you do not have to answer officers’ questions, although refusing to answer routine questions about the nature and purpose of your travel could result in delay and/or further inspection. If you are a lawful permanent resident, we recommend you answer officers’ questions… Officers, however, may not select you for questioning based on your religion, race, national origin, gender, ethnicity, or political beliefs…

Continue reading “Know Your Rights”

Resources to Support Immigrant and Refugee Students (and colleagues and neighbors and family members and…)

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The second executive action on immigration has created more uncertainty and fear, and students are in the thick of it. We’re hearing this loud and clear from our survey respondents. To that end, here are two resources for helping immigrant and refugee students.

Teaching Tolerance, one of our favorite sites, has a great resources now available: Immigrant and Refugee Children: A Guide for Educators and School Support Staff. There’s a wealth of information here, from information on being undocumented, FAQs about immigration raids, and some concrete suggestions for what educational communities can do.

What Educators, School Support Staff and Communities Can Do

  • Issue a statement—in English and in other languages spoken at the school—articulating that the school supports immigrant students/parents and affirming publically that it is a welcoming site.
  • Stress the importance of taking proactive steps to ensure the safety and well-being of children and entire communities.
  • Distribute “know your rights” materials to students, families and communities about what to do if a raid occurs or an individual is detained.
  • Identify a bilingual person at your school who can serve as the immigration resource advocate in your building or on your campus.
  • Work with parents to develop a family immigration raid emergency plan.
  • Provide a safe place for students to wait if a parent or sibling has been detained.
  • Provide counseling for students who have had a family member detained by ICE.
  • Work with your school board to pass a resolution affirming schools as welcoming places of learning for all students, distancing the schools from enforcement actions that separate families.

There’s much more at the link.

The ACLU has a thorough section–Know Your Rights–for all kinds of circumstances. Today, we’re highlighting their downloadable Fact Sheet for Families and School Staff: Limitations on DHS Immigration Enforcement Actions at Sensitive Locations. While things are unfortunately changing quickly, this is a good resource for knowing what the baseline has been in the past for enforcement actions in places like schools, at bus stops, and in hospitals.

Know of something we’re missing? Stick it in the comments or get in touch.