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February 2017

What To Do If You Are Detained At An Airport

If you or someone you know is detained at an airport while attempting to return to the United States, or if you fear you may be detained upon arrival, please call the Council of American Islamic Relations-Chicago Chapter (CAIR-Chicago).  They can be reached at (312) 212-1520.  If you fear you may be detained upon arrival, please contact CAIR-Chicago via their Traveler's Assistance Project.  More information and an online registration form are available here.

The experienced staff at CAIR-Chicago will take down your information and provide you guidance based on your individual situation.  In some instances, they may refer you to another organization or an immigration attorney for follow up services.  You can learn more about CAIR-Chicago at their website:

The following advice is excerpted from CAIR-Chicago and should be reviewed prior to travel:


As an airline passenger, you are entitled to courteous, respectful and non-stigmatizing treatment by airline and security personnel. You have the right to complain about treatment that you believe is discriminatory.

If you believe you have been treated in a discriminatory manner, immediately:

1) Ask to speak to a supervisor.

2) Ask if you have been singled out because of your looks, dress, race, ethnicity, faith, or national origin.

3) Ask for the names and ID numbers of all persons involved in the incident.

4) Ask witnesses to give you their names and contact information.

5) Write down a statement of facts immediately after the incident. Be sure to include the flight number, the flight date, and the name of the airline.

6) Contact CAIR to file a report. If you are leaving the country, leave a detailed message, with the information above, at 202-488-8787. You may also file on-line at

Does President Trump's Executive Order Banning Immigrants Impact You?

President Trump has signed an Executive Order severely restricting access to the United States from seven Muslim-majority countries and suspending all entry for refugees. In an effort to educate communities about the impact of this order, Muslim Advocates, the nation's leading Muslim legal advocacy organization, has prepared the following Community Guidance and Fact Sheet.  We urge members of Illinois' Muslim community to read and share these important documents.

Community Guidance: Restrictions on Muslim Entry to the U.S.

Fact Sheet: Executive Order Restricting Muslim Entry to the United States





In December 2015, in response to domestic mass shootings in the United States, then presidential candidate Donald Trump advocated banning Muslims from the United States. This knee-jerk and xenophobic reaction, offered as red meat to his political base, has now become policy. On January 27, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order seeking to legalize religious bigotry, racial-profiling, and ethnic preferences.

Any person who seeks to harm our country should be denied entry. But President Trump’s order falls far short of this stated purpose, and will not keep our communities safe. Rather than fighting ISIS and real terrorists, President Trump has criminalized innocent men, women, and children based on their religious affiliation and national origin. For example, a five-year-old child was separated from his mother, handcuffed, and held in detention for several hours. A daughter traveling to the US was prevented from visiting her mother, who is hospitalized with cancer. A 16-year-old teenager legal immigrant landed in Houston, was detained, and then transported to a refugee holding pen in Chicago without explanation or notice and without access to family. These are simply a trickle of the hundreds of stories legal permanent residents, legally valid refugees, and travelers, including doctors, professors, and business professionals, have faced as a result of Trump’s bigoted, and mean spirited actions.

Muslim Bar Association attorneys offering pro bono legal services for arriving passengers at O’Hare International Airport report that valid green card holders and even American citizens who are not from the subject countries, but are Muslim by faith, have been detained for extended hours or refused permission to board flights, threatened to give up their green cards or passports, harassed by border guards with overt comments of hate and bigotry, and denied access to counsel. “It appears that guilt by association has, sadly, been elevated to official government policy,” said Azam Nizamuddin, president of the Muslim Bar Association of Chicago.

Banning immigrants, turning a blind eye to refugees, and harassing citizens based on religious affiliation is not in keeping with the values of our pluralistic society. As attorneys, we will defend the US Constitution and work hard to prevent the erosion of Muslim civil and human rights.