The American Civil Liberties Union is offering assistance to those immigrants who may find themselves subject to the latest round of "voluntary interviews" with either the FBI or immigration officials. The ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Projected is disseminating a know-your-rights pamphlet for persons affected by these interviews.

The "voluntary interview" practice began after September 11, 2001, when the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security initiated four sweeping programs that amount to racial profiling on a national scale.

The recent proposal appears to be a resurrection of the failed 2001 and 2002 programs in which the FBI questioned first 5,000 and then 3,000 Muslims and Arabs. All public accounts indicate that the questioning did not yield apprehension of a single terrorist. Those rounds of questioning were the subject of a General Accounting Office report, issued in April of 2003.

There have been countless instances of Muslims and Arab-Americans from all regions of the country being suspected and detained on the basis of their ethnicity and religious beliefs. This has included a nation-wide effort to send FBI agents into immigrant communities to interrogate individuals based solely on their ethnicity, race or religion.

The ACLU is providing legal support to victims of racial, ethnic or religious discrimination.

Know your rights. What to do if the FBI or Department of Homeland Security Wants to Question You (pdf pamphlet).

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