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US Immigrants’ Rights Groups Turn to Education to Protect Rights

We Have Rights Campaign Highlights Need for Immigrant Empowerment for Rights Protection

Screenshot from We Have Rights Immigrant Empowerment Campaign video. © 2018 We Have Rights Team (NYCLU, ACLU, BDS, Media Tank)

The Trump administration’s relentless pursuit of immigrants has prompted US immigrants’ rights groups to turn to mass education to inform immigrant communities on how to protect their rights.

With arrests of immigrants in the United States interior up 40 percent over last year, immigration lawyers say they are stretched too thin to adequately prepare families at risk of deportation to defend their rights. A new series of know-your-rights videos and accompanying materials instead “aims to empower immigrants to protect themselves.”

The campaign, We Have Rights, consists of a series of four short, animated videos based on real life experiences of immigrant communities and is available in seven languages. Produced by Brooklyn Defender Services and the ACLU, the videos include instructions on what immigrants’ rights are when Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) knocks at their door, enters their home, stops an immigrant in their own community, and arrests an immigrant community member.

The first video in the series entitled, “When ICE is Outside Our Doors,” tells the narrative of ICE agents knocking on the door of an immigrant family. The video instructs immigrant communities to exercise their rights such as asking for a warrant signed by a judge and telling agents that they do not consent to a search. Upholding such rights are especially important in light of early morning raids in which ICE agents have reportedly disguised themselves as local law enforcement officers conducting investigations.

As Human Rights Watch has documented, the recent increase in interior immigration arrests means thousands of people with deep ties to the US are being deported from home and family, under laws that give no meaningful consideration to those ties. On a policy level, this requires action by Congress and the president to reverse harmful laws and policies. But empowered communities can also protect themselves. Watch and share these videos to find out how.

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