Printed in seven languages, brochures offer advice on dealing with the Police, FBI and INSThe ACLU of Virginia is distributing brochures offering advice to persons who are stopped for questioning by the police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Immigration and Naturalization Services or U.S. Customs. In an attempt to make the brochure as useful as possible, it has been printed in seven languages--English, Spanish, Arabic, Farsi, Hindi, Pujabi, and Urdu.
Entitled "Know Your Rights," the brochure defines the broad constitutional guarantees of citizens -- such as a the right to remain silent and to be free of unreasonable searches -- but also offers information on how to deal with specific circumstances. The latter includes answering questions such as: "At an airport, can my bags or I be searched after going through detectors with no problem?" or "What if FBI agents or the police do not have a warrant, but insist on searching my home even after I object?"
One section of the brochure addresses the rights of non-citizens who are in the United States. The questions answered include: "Do I have a right to talk to a lawyer before answering any INS questions or signing any INS papers?" and "Do I have the right to a hearing before an immigration judge to defend myself against deportation charges?"
"Since September 11, the chances of a U.S. citizen being detained by the government have risen astronomically," said ACLU of Virginia executive director Kent Willis. "However, most of us are so intimidated by government agents and so uninformed about the law that we are unable to assert our rights at the very moment when it is most important that we do so."
"The ACLU does not advocate being uncooperative with government officials," added Willis, "but if you are aware of your rights when dealing with them you will be able to make informed decisions about how to respond."
Copies of the “Know Your Rights” brochures in English, Spanish, Arabic, Pujabi Urdu, Farsi and Hindi are available by contacting the ACLU of Virginia. These and a Somali language version are also available. A copy of the content of the English language brochure follows.
Contacts: Kent Willis, Executive Director, ACLU of Virginia, 804-644-8022