National Lawyers Guild Bulletin #1 Nov 27 2002



What to do if the FBI, INS, or Police Contact You for Questioning

November 27, 2002

The FBI has begun a new round of questioning and interviews. The FBI will likely target Iraqi immigrants, Iraqi-Americans and others of Middle Eastern origin for the questioning. This bulletin informs you how to respond when the FBI, INS, or police contact you for questioning.

  • If an FBI, INS, or police officer asks to speak to you, tell him you want to consult an attorney before deciding what to do. Telling the officer that you need to speak to an attorney before answering any questions is legal and appropriate. If you want to talk to the FBI, INS, or police, your attorney can contact them for the interview on your behalf.
  • ANY information you give to an officer without an attorney, even if it seems harmless, can be used against you or someone else. Lying to an officer is a separate crime. Remaining silent is not a crime.
  • You are not required to allow the officer into your home or office without a warrant. Ask to see the warrant. If the officer refuses to show you a warrant, do not obstruct him if he forces his way into your home or office. Tell the officer that he does not have your permission to enter.
  • If the officer says that he has a warrant for your arrest, you have a right to see the warrant. You must go with the officer, but you do not have to answer questions until you consult an attorney.
  • If you are detained, you should ask for an attorney and remain silent. If you are detained in an immigration detention center, ask for contact information for attorneys.

If the FBI, INS, local police or other law enforcement contact you, please write down the name, agency, and telephone number of the officer who calls or visits you. Then CONTACT US IMMEDIATELY. We have a FREE hotline that provides confidential legal assistance.

The number is: (415) 285 - 1055


  • American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
  • American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California
  • Council on American Islamic Relations
  • Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights
  • National Lawyers' Guild