Explore the resources on page to learn more about how United Methodist Women can extend a welcoming hand to immigrant communities.
Know Your Rights
Providing legal information to immigrants
in your church and community
Immigrants, including those who are unauthorized, are guaranteed basic civil rights in the United States. However, many are unaware of their rights, and these rights are often ignored during raids and detentions. “Know Your Rights” campaigns across the country provide immigrants with unauthorized immigration status basic facts about their rights, including what to do if arrested by the police or Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials, and steps to take to get out of detention as quickly as possible.
This page includes three “know your rights” packets:
• “Know Your Rights Pamphlet,” American Civil Liberties Union Campaign Against Racial Profiling, is a comprehensive packet on immigrant rights available in English, Spanish, Arabic, Urdu, Punjabi, Hindi, Somali and Farsi. The link to each language is listed below. This can be distributed to individuals or can be used in “Know Your Rights” educational seminars, classes and sessions.
• “Know Your Rights in the Community” by CASA Maryland, Detention Watch Network and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild is an illustrated easy-to-read packet available in English and Spanish. It includes a “Right to Remain Silent” card that people can give to the police or immigration officers in the event of an arrest. This card is particularly useful to immigrants with limited proficiency in English who may be unable to articulate their rights.
• “What to Do If You Are Arrested or Detained by Immigration” by National Immigration Law Center is available in Chinese and Korean.
If you do not have access to a computer and would like copies of these resources, please contact Mae Reed, Women’s Division Section of Christian Social Responsibility, 212-870-3734.
What United Methodist Women can do
1. Read through these packets so that you are aware of the rights detained and imprisoned immigrants have when in custody.
2. Find out which immigrant communities are in your area and what languages they speak. Download copies of the materials in these languages and photocopy as needed for distribution. Reach out to local churches with immigrant members to make these resources available.
3. Are community organizations in your area already engaged in “know your rights” campaigns? Ask how you can best support their efforts. This may involve helping to distribute copies of these packets.
4. Identify neighborhoods with large immigrant populations and strategic places – including schools, restaurants, community organizations and resources centers – that can help distribute “Know Your Rights” packets.
5. Consider hosting a “know your rights” workshop in your church. Enlist the help of local ecumenical or interfaith councils and community organizations. Explore pro-bono support from an immigration lawyer. These packets could be a useful resource both for organizing a class and for distribution to participants.
6. Let us know what you are doing! Contact the Community Action Office, Women’s Division [firstname.lastname@example.org; 212-870-3732] to share your activities and suggestions for others, and join the UMW Immigration Online Community at www.umwonline.org to let a national network of United Methodist Women know what you’re doing.
“Know Your Rights Pamphlet,” American Civil Liberties Union Campaign Against Racial Profiling, 125 Broad Street, 18th Floor, New York, NY 10004-2400, www.aclu.org
“Know Your Rights in the Community” by CASA Maryland, Detention Watch Network and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, Silver Spring, Md., and March 2007
“What to Do If You Are Arrested or Detained by Immigration” by National Immigration Law Center, www.nilc.org, 3435 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 2850, Los Angeles, CA 90010, 213 639-3900.