Know Your Rights
Know your rights: this information is meant to educate you about your rights. It should not be in any way considered legal advice. If you believe your rights have been violated, you should talk to a lawyer.
- Know Your Rights as a refugee:
Recent actions against refugee resettlement, refugees and immigrants in the United States have created fear and concerns for many. Everyone has rights, including refugees, asylum seekers, asylees, immigrants, lawful permanent residents (green card holders), and U.S. citizens, and individuals in the United States without status.
- What If federal agents come to my home to talk to me?
- There have been reports of agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and/or the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) visiting refugees’ homes to talk to them. Here is what you can do if someone tries to enter your home:
- Do not open the door: immigration enforcement or the FBI can’t come into your home without a warrant. If a warrant is presented, check the date and signature. If it is signed by a judge and the date is valid, you must let them in and can exercise your right to remain silent. If a warrant is not presented, they can only come in if you or someone else invites them in.
- Do not speak: in America, you have the right to be silent and not say anything to the police. Anything you say can and will be used against you in court. You can tell the agents, “I plead the 5th amendment” and do not speak.
- Call a lawyer: you can find a pro-bono lawyer on Immigrationlawhelp.org. Or you can call your local ACLU or CAIR-LA.
- Do not sign anything: don’t sign your name on any papers without talking to a lawyer.
- Stay strong: get a trustworthy lawyer. Also, ask your community to advocate with you. If you are detained, you may be able to get bail and be released. Don’t give up hope.
Remember: You have the right to choose not to answer any questions. Your right to be safe in your community
What if I am a victim of harassment in my home or neighborhood?
Your refugee status grants you legal status in the U.S., and you have the right to receive the same treatment as U.S. citizens. Your local police are there to serve you as a member of the community and protect you when you need it. If you are the victim of a crime, you should immediately call the police: 911.
If you feel that you are in danger, or if someone is making threats against you or your family, DO NOT try to talk to them or confront them. You should immediately call the police by dialing 911. If you are worried about your safety, talk to someone at your refugee resettlement agency or to a lawyer.
If you believe you or someone you know has been a victim of a crime or discriminated against because of your religion, nationality, or group membership, you should also report it at: https://www.splcenter.org/reporthate.
Can I practice my faith without any fear of being victimized?
You have a constitutional right to practice your religion. You have the right to go to a place of worship, attend and hear sermons and religious lectures, participate in community activities, and pray in public. If you experience religious discrimination or are targeted because of religion, you can contact CAIR.
Remember: the law is on your side to protect you.
Additional information and resources
Refugee Resettlement Offices: http://www.wrapsnet.org/rp-agency-contacts/
Thank you to Church World Service for preparing these materials to help refugees KNOW YOUR RIGHTS – REFUGEE RIGHTS.