In this blessed month of Muharram, CAIR-SFBA attorneys engaged with the community by assisting clients with direct legal services for issues like filing naturalization applications, unemployment insurance assistance, and law enforcement interactions.
To supplement the legal representation provided, the legal staff conducted virtual citizenship drives and Know Your Rights workshops across the Bay Area.
During the citizenship drives held virtually on Zoom, CAIR-SFBA’s immigration attorneys answered queries relating to citizenship eligibility and assisted community members in filing their N-400 naturalization applications. Our attorneys have guided individuals through their eligibility and the somewhat cumbersome application process for naturalization especially as the application continues becoming lengthier and onerous. Given pending fee increases and removal of fee waiver options by United States’ Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), it has become even more crucial for naturalization applicants to be thorough and have legal assistance before filing their N-400 applications. With that in mind, CAIR-SFBA continues to offer its monthly citizenship drives on weeknights for community members. For more information and to register for our clinic on September 25, please visit CAIR-SFBA’s website here.
On other fronts, CAIR-SFBA attorneys have continued their representation and advocacy on behalf of community members contacted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and their local law enforcement partners through the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) partnerships to ensure that local officers deputized by the FBI follow stricter local rules requiring reasonable suspicion and probable cause for investigations and searches
In each instance reported to us, CAIR-SFBA swiftly intervened to ensure that private and confidential information by and on community members was not documented. Seemingly, FBI agents have been targeting various members of our communities based simply on them sharing similar ethnic and spiritual backgrounds as well as having attended a mosque or community event as alleged terrorism suspects who happen to be Muslim. Our approach has been to proactively empower community members to assert and be aware of their rights in the face of such law enforcement harassment regardless of national origin and immigration status through our ‘Know Your Rights’ workshops. If you would like to have us come to your mosque or community space and conduct a virtual webinar, please fill out a request form online.
In order to protect yourself, a loved one, and members of the community, CAIR-SFBA advises you to never allow law enforcement agents inside your residence or workplace except if they present a search warrant signed by a judge. When FBI agents approach you in person or over the phone and identify themselves as law enforcement, be polite but insist firmly that you would like to “assert your right to remain silent and that my attorney will contact you”. You should never get into a verbal or physical altercation with law enforcement and continue to assert your constitutional rights.
To enable us to represent you, be sure to take the agent’s contact information before reaching out to us through our online incident report form. For legal assistance and consultations regarding law enforcement visits/harassment, religious discrimination, and immigration matters, please contact our legal department at 408. 986.9874.
Ammad Rafiqi, Esq.
Civil Rights & Legal Services Coordinator
P.S: Browse reading through our Know Your Rights materials found on our website.