As’Salaamu Alaikum,

This past month, your legal team at CAIR-SFBA continued advocating on the behalf of the community to prevent the normalization of anti-Muslim bigotry in the hallowed and esteemed courts of this country.

As a response to the Supreme Court of the United States’ 5-4 decision denoting President Trump’s Muslim Ban as constitutional and within his executive powers, CAIR-SFBA’s legal team and most notably, Brittney Rezaei, our Immigrants’ Rights Attorney, have responded rapidly to the spate of inquiries surrounding this decision. Through numerous community forums and a series of webinars focused on the community members with ties to the five Muslim majority countries affected by the Ban, CAIR-SFBA’s legal team ensured that impacted individuals and families were made aware of the impact of this ruling as well as to inform them that CAIR-SFBA would continue to legally attack key portions of the executive order so as to render it ineffective and hollow.

As a result of this horrendous ruling, we have seen an uptick in intakes from American Muslims regarding continued harassment and intrusive questioning during travel-related encounters whether it is by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents prior to boarding aircraft or upon return from international travel by Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents. As a precursor to safeguarding your rights, we recommend that travelers are aware of their rights and have practiced asserting their rights firmly and unwaveringly.
Some community members found that they had their electronic devices searched despite not consenting to it, which CBP agents are worryingly authorized to do so, or detained and seized for an expanded period of time. In an age of expanded data storage and access capabilities which benefit both users as well as governmental agencies seeking to pry into your life, CAIR-SFBA recommends that travelers use backup storage devices to store data; alternative and disposable electronic devices and to disable identification features like retinal scans throughout the process. If you are worried about encountering hostile CBP agents during secondary screening or extended questioning, please contact our legal department at 408. 986.9874 for personalized legal advice or read through our Know Your Rights materials.

In addition to our advocacy against the Islamophobic policies of the administration, our legal team was successful at representing a community member who was not hired after an interview where her religious background and national origin were mentioned unfavorably and negatively stereotyped. After an intense mediation battle, our attorneys were successful in obtaining a settlement for the impacted community member that would recoup lost wages and other suitable damages. If you find yourself a target of discrimination and harassment at your workplace, please reach out to us through our incident report form.

Ammad Rafiqi, Esq.
Civil Rights & Legal Services Coordinator