Since the winning of the US presidential election by Mr. Donald Trump with anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim rhetoric, the fear of deportation and harassment among many ethnic communities is very real. Bangladeshi community in the USA is also experiencing anxiety, apprehension, and uncertainty. Bangladeshis are often victims of crimes – from race-related shouting to victims of killing in broad daylight. The political tension in the USA after the 2016 election is making the situation even more emotionally stressful. Legal residents and citizens are worried about hate crime and racial profiling. Undocumented residents are fearful of intimidation and deportation. To address these issues, some organizations organize events to inform the residents about ‘Know Your Rights.’
Regarding Know Your Rights, many members of the USA’s Bangladeshi community have some limitations, such as lack of civil rights knowledge, undocumented immigration status, fear of law enforcement authorities, language barrier, introverted culture, etc.
Below is some information about what to know and how to exercise your civil rights if and when they are challenged: (These are not legal advice, contact a lawyer for legal issues)
If the police stop you
Englishপুলিশ যদি আপনাকে থামায়
- Be polite and respectful. Never bad-mouth a police officer.
- Stay calm and in control of your words, body language, and emotions.
- Don’t get into an argument with the police.
- Remember, anything you say or do can be used against you.
- Please keep your hands where the police can see them.
- Don’t run.
- Don’t touch any police officer.
- Don’t resist even if you believe you are innocent or if the police are acting unfairly or even unlawfully.
- Please don’t complain about the scene or tell the police they’re wrong or that you’re going to file a complaint.
- Do not make any statements regarding the incident.
- Ask for a lawyer immediately upon your arrest.
- Remember officer’s badge and patrol car numbers.
- Write down everything you remember ASAP.
- Try to find witnesses and their names and phone numbers.
- If you are injured, take photographs of the injuries as soon as possible, but make sure you seek medical attention first.
- If you feel your rights have been violated, file a written complaint with the police department’s internal affairs division or civilian complaint board.
- You should ask if you are under arrest or free to leave.
- If police reasonably suspect you pose a danger to them or others, they may pat down your outer clothing (Frisk). Don’t physically resist, but say, “I do not consent to this search.”
- If an officer asks you to empty your pockets – even if the officer says you won’t get in trouble – don’t do it. Say, “I do not consent to this search.” If the officer reaches into your pockets or your bag, this is called a search.
- In New York, you are not required to carry an ID, and you don’t have to show an ID to a police officer. If you are issued a summons or arrested, however, and you refuse to produce ID or tell officers who you are, the police may detain you until you can be positively identified.
If you are stopped in a car
Englishযদি আপনার গাড়ি থামানো হয়
- Stop the car in a safe place as quickly as possible. Turn off the car, turn on the internal light, open the window part way and place your hands on the wheel.
- Upon request, show police your driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance.
- If an officer or immigration agent asks to look inside your car, you can refuse to consent to the search. But if police believe your car contains evidence of a crime, your car can be searched without your consent. To protect yourself later, you should state that you do not consent to a search. It is not lawful for police to arrest you simply for refusing to consent to a search.
- Both drivers and passengers have the right to remain silent. If you are a passenger, you can ask if you are free to leave. If the officer says yes, sit silently or calmly leave. Even if the officer says no, you have the right to remain silent.
- If you’re suspected of drunk driving (DWI), you will be asked to take blood, urine, or breath tests. If you fail the tests or refuse to take them, you may be arrested, your driver’s license may be suspended, and your car may be taken away.
- If you are arrested, your car will be subject to a search.
- If you’re given a ticket, you should sign it; otherwise you can be arrested. You can always fight the case in court later.
If police come to your home
Englishযদি পুলিশ আপনার বাসায় আসে
- Police must have a warrant to enter your home, except in emergency situations (e.g., a person screaming, or when the police are chasing someone).
- If the police say they have a warrant, ask to see it. Ask the officer to slip the warrant under the door or hold it up to the window so you can inspect it.
- A search warrant allows police to enter the address listed on the warrant, but officers can only search the areas and the items listed.
- An arrest warrant allows police to enter the home of the person listed on the warrant if they believe the person is inside. A warrant of removal/deportation (ICE warrant) does not allow officers to enter a home without consent.
- When the police ask to enter or search your home without a warrant, you may refuse to allow them. If you are arrested in your home, the police can search you and the area immediately surrounding you or where evidence of criminal activity is in plain view, which rarely includes more than the room you are in.
- Even if officers have a warrant, you have the right to remain silent. If you choose to speak to the officers, step outside and close the door.
If you are asked about your immigration status
Englishযদি আপনার অভিবাসন বা নাগরিকত্ব নিয়ে প্রশ্ন করা হয়
- You have the right to remain silent and do not have to discuss your immigration or citizenship status with police, immigration agents or any other officials.
- You do not have to answer questions about where you were born, whether you are a U.S. citizen, or how you entered the country. (Separate rules apply at international borders and airports and for individuals on certain nonimmigrant visas, including tourists and business travelers.)
- If you are not a U.S. citizen and an immigration agent requests your immigration papers, you must show them if you have them with you. If you are over 18, carry your immigration documents with you at all times. If you do not have immigration papers, say you want to remain silent.
- Do not lie about your citizenship status or provide fake documents.
If you are arrested or taken to a police station
Englishযদি আপনাকে গ্রেফতার বা পুলিশ কার্যালয়ে নেয়া হয়
- Do not resist arrest, even if you believe the arrest is unfair.
- Don’t tell the police anything except your name and address. Say you wish to remain silent and ask for a lawyer immediately. Don’t give any explanations, excuses, or stories. You can make your defense later, in court, based on what you and your lawyer decide is best.
- If you can’t pay for a lawyer, you have the right to a free one. Don’t say anything, sign anything or make any decisions without a lawyer. You can ask the police how to contact a lawyer.
- You have the right to make a local phone call. The police cannot listen if you call a lawyer or a relative, or any other person. If you are permitted to make a phone call, anything you say may be recorded or listened to at the precinct. Never talk about the facts of your case over the telephone.
- Prepare yourself and your family in case you are arrested. Memorize the phone numbers of your family and your lawyer. Make emergency plans if you have children or take medication.
- You must be taken before the judge within 48 hours after arrest.
Special considerations for non-citizens
Englishঅ-নাগরিকদের জন্য বিশেষ বিবেচ্য বিষয়
- Ask your lawyer about the effect of a criminal conviction or plea on your immigration status.
- Don’t discuss your immigration status with anyone but your lawyer.
- While you are in jail, an immigration agent may visit you. Do not answer questions or sign anything before talking to a lawyer.
- Read all papers carefully and fully. If you do not understand or cannot read the papers, tell the officer you need an interpreter.
- Remember your immigration number (“A” number) and give it to your family. It will help family members locate you.
- Keep a copy of your immigration documents with someone you trust.
- You have the right to contact your consulate or have an officer inform the consulate of your arrest.
- Do not sign anything, such as a voluntary departure or stipulated removal, without talking to a lawyer. If you sign, you may be giving up your opportunity to try to stay in the U.S.
- Regardless of your immigration or citizenship status, you have constitutional rights.