Community Advisory to Arab, Muslim, and South Asian-American communities

Community Advisory to Arab, Muslim, and South Asian-American communities

by American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)

Washington, DC | | September 12, 2013 - Earlier this month, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) issued a Community Advisory following a New York Times article entitled, “F.B.I. Sharpens Scrutiny of Syrians in U.S.”. The article revealed that the FBI was increasing surveillance of Syrians inside the United States.

Over the course of the past week, ADC has received numerous phone calls and reports from community members who have been approached by the FBI for questioning. Many of the calls came from community members who are not of Syrian decent, indicating that the FBI has expanded its scrutiny to include other Arab and Muslim Americans.

In light of this recent development, ADC is reissuing this Community Advisory to members of the Arab and Arab American communities.  ADC reminds members of the Arab, Muslim, and South Asian-American communities that equal protection and due process rights are afforded to everyone, including non-citizens, in the United States. 

ADC urges anyone who is contacted by law enforcement for an interview to strongly consider the following:

  1. You do not have to allow any law enforcement officer or agent to enter your home or office, unless they have a search warrant. Agents must have a search warrant to enter your house, except in emergency situation. Even with a search warrant, you are under no obligation to answer any questions without a lawyer present. Make it clear to the agent that you do not consent to the search so that they cannot go beyond what the warrant authorizes.
  3. You are not obligated to immediately speak to an FBI agent. Ask the agent for his or her contact information so that you will be able to get back in touch with them later. If you are visited in person, ask for a business card. The agent must provide you his or her contact information upon your request.
  5. You have the right to an attorney being present when speaking to the agent. This right is extended to both citizens and non-citizens, including student visa holders. If you cannot afford an attorney, or do not know of one in your area, call the ADC Legal Department at (202) 244-2990 or send an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Also, ADC will do its best to provide third party observers in cases community members would want such additional safeguards.
  7.   Entering an interview with the understanding that the interviewee has absolute discretion as to what questions to answer. For example, one may choose to answer questions about their neighborhood or activity they may deem suspicious and yet refuse to answer any questions regarding their immigration status.

ADC also urges anyone who is contacted by law enforcement to contact the ADC Legal Department and provide details concerning the incident by calling (202) 244-2990 or via email at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)