Discrimination: Know Your Rights


by Shorts

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:

Shirin Sinnar
ALC Civil Rights/Employment Attorney
Tel: (415) 848-7714
Email: shirins@asianlawcaucus.org

Tamara Nakhjavani (*speaks Farsi)
ALC Volunteer Attorney
Email: tnakhjavani@gmail.com

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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Two things saves you in this world

by Gina Lulu Brigida (not verified) on

Number one: YOUR SAVINGS

Number two: Lord Jesus Christ

The rest is nuisance.....


Put an Iranian case on TV...

by idea (not verified) on

We can not do a damn thing as long as media discriminate against us. The only way to educate the public is to publicize some of the cases of discriminations against Iranians and punish the violators. But media is biased against us. Media is controled by tose who despise us. We have no hope.

We need a voice! We are an easy prey!


No one gives a damn!

by Khoshkhial (not verified) on

We have no protection here lets face the truth!
Everyone talks a good talk but when it comes to action nothing happens. Civil rights law is mostly a joke even for Americans. For us forget it. Iranians are the least protected group here. We are minority in every sense. Religion, race, language, politics!


More democratic democracies

by Kamangir on

First of all I wish to thank the author of this article for caring for such issue that is affecting many iranians and other middle easterns living abroad. However, I have to be honest and have to say that I know that this whole thing has just started and it won't go away in our life times. The racism and/or discrimination issue is something that I cannot personally be indiferent to, mainly because it's something that I have dealt with in last 22 years, in 3 different countries and two different continents. It has gotten to a point where I only wish for myself and for all other iranians (those who wish it) to go back home, to go back to Iran. Iran is the only place on earth where we feel at home. I won't go into details as it would make this response way too long to read, but I've seen the many different faces of racism/discrimination as many other Iranians have in other parts of the world. This has helped me to better understand and comprehend the real nature of the countries I've lived in. I've had great and good non-Iranian friends very sympathetic towards us, very understanding, however, in overall, there's has been a daily struggle trying to deal with racism and xenofobia, in work and personal/social life. I adopted different attitudes trying to get along with my surrounding and enviroment, I even relocated to other cities and countries and came to realize that maybe this fight, this daily struggle is not worth fighting, as no matter what I do or say, these things will happen again and again. I have come to understand that life is just too short for such struggle. I compare our situation with the one of the Jewish communities before and during the second world war and well I think we're better off, we have a country. I think we should try to understand and improve our country's situation so we don't have to leave it behind.  We've a very good country in the wrong hands, a country that could offer us what nobody else can. In the meantime, yes! we should stand for our rights (if the Western democracies were more democratic, we wouldn't have to fight for our rights, would we?) Our hosts have got things to learn from this, as well.

Ba Sepas