As’Salaamu Alaikum,

As the new year begins with fresh hope and renewed determination, CAIR-SFBA’s legal staff were active within the community in assisting individuals by providing direct legal services leading to timely representation and advocacy on a whole host of issues ranging from employment discrimination, travel complaints to assisting on a variety of immigration matters such as adjustment of status and asylum applications. To that end, we held another successful naturalization clinic to begin the year at the Islamic Society of East Bay (ISEB) in Fremont, CA. Additionally, the team continued conducting its Know Your Rights Workshops for students who might be at risk of bullying based on protected characteristics such as racial/ethnic background and religious identity in areas such as San Rafael to San Ramon.

CAIR-SFBA filed a lawsuit on behalf of a community member who had been facing immigration delays over a benefit that he/she rightfully deserved to be granted except for the expansive government program, Controlled Application Review and Resolution Program (CARRP) which targets members of the Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim and South Asian (AMEMSA) community specifically. In addition to legal representation with the governmental agency, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and advocating with local and national elected officials, CAIR-SFBA attorneys are also active in filing lawsuits against agencies such as USCIS in federal court to compel them to take action in granting or denying applications for immigration benefits for cause. If you or anyone you know have been targets of immigration delay cases and would like a consultation or representation, please report these occurrences to CAIR-SFBA’s Civil Rights & Legal Services Department by visiting bit.ly/cairsfbareport.

Moreover, as you travel within or outside the U.S. through airports or land borders, 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 read through our traveler’s Know Your Rights materials that can be accessed on our website.

As a general reminder, if you find yourself or a loved one a target of discrimination and harassment while traveling, at your workplace, at healthcare facilities and on school premises, please reach out to us through our incident report form.

Sincerely,
Ammad Rafiqi, Esq.
Civil Rights & Legal Services Coordinator