Asian Law Center
939 Market Street, Suite 201,
San Francisco CA 94103
(415) 848 -7714
Helpful Information for the Iranian Community on Discrimination
More than six years after 9/11, many immigrants, particularly those of Middle Eastern descent, still face discrimination such as harassment at the airport upon re-entry into the United States, FBI interviews, delayed naturalization applications, and unequal treatment at work. Certainly, with the recent rise in tension between the United States and Iran, Iranians of all generations are also subject to such discrimination.
HARASSMENT at the Airport - International Travelers Returning Home
Many citizens and immigrants are repeatedly being stopped, questioned, and searched every time they come back to the United States after traveling abroad. Some travelers are held for hours and questioned about their religious practices or political beliefs, while Customs and Border Protection agents search their wallets, books, notebooks, laptops, and more. Sometimes this happens because a person’s name (or someone with a similar name) is included on a government watch list.
Among many organizations that actively monitor and address such discriminatory behavior is the Asian Law Caucus (“ALC”, www.asianlawcaucus.org), a non-profit organization in San Francisco, protecting immigrant and worker’s rights for thirty-six years.
If you are a Northern California resident who has been singled out at any airport or land border upon returning into the United States because of your name, ethnicity, religion, or other similar reason OR can provide any information as to what you think are important and effective media channels through which we can educate the Iranian community about their rights, please support ALC’s mission by contacting the following parties:
ALC Civil Rights/Employment Attorney
Tel: (415) 848-7714
Tamara Nakhjavani (*speaks Farsi)
ALC Volunteer Attorney
It’s crucial that you speak up about your experience so that organizations such as ALC can prevent this from happening to others in our communities.
Tips for International Travelers Returning to the United States:
In addition, for suggestions about avoiding this problem, please take a look at the “Tips for International Travelers Returning to the United States” which is posted at www.asianlawcaucus.org.
Many people in the Iranian community are also being interviewed by the FBI. It’s important to remember that if you or someone you know is approached for an FBI interview, you do not have to consent to doing the interview; if you decide to do the interview, you should contact a lawyer who can represent you at the interview. The National Lawyers Guild in Northern California provides a hotline offering free legal assistance for anyone called by the FBI. You can find more information about this hotline at www.nlgsf.org. Please see below for more information:
9/11 Hotline_(415) 285-1041
For individuals contacted by the FBI, or other federal agency, as part of a domestic security investigation. This includes members of the Muslim or Middle Eastern community who are being targeted by the Department of Homeland Security; activists who have been subpoenaed to a grand jury; or non-citizens who have questions about the impact political activity could have on their immigration status. This line is staffed between the hours of 10-6pm, M-F. After hours, leave a message and it will be returned the next day.
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