Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility
The CLEAR (Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility) project primarily aims to address the unmet legal needs of Muslim, Arab, South Asian, and other communities in the New York City area that are particularly affected by national security and counter-terrorism policies and practices.
CLEAR is rooted in CUNY School of Law's relationship with community-based organizations whose members wish to shape and respond to national security and counter-terrorism policies and practices affecting them. It is a cross-clinical project that began as a collaboration between the Immigrant & Non-Citizen Rights Clinic, and the Defenders Clinic. Today, CLEAR is staffed by law students from across the clinical program, including the Immigrant & Non-Citizen Rights Clinic, the Defenders Clinic, the International Women's and Human Rights Clinic, and the Economic Justice Project.
Since the project's inception in 2009, our work has developed along the following axes:
Legal representation & consultation
CLEAR teams represent and advise community members as they respond to requests for voluntary FBI interviews, during searches by law enforcement, as they consider charitable giving options, and in the course of overseas and domestic travel. CLEAR representatives also offer advice and information around the potential criminal and immigration consequences that may result from national security and counter-terrorism policies and practices.
CLEAR teams facilitate Know-Your-Rights (KYR) presentations at mosques and other community centers in the New York Area. We have workshops on how to interact with law enforcement (NYPD or the FBI), on informants and infiltration, on charitable giving, and on travel.
Community Organizing Support
CLEAR assists local organizations with advocacy efforts and documentation campaigns that aim to address the policies affecting the communities that CLEAR serves. For example, along with the Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition (MACLC) and the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), CLEAR co-authored Mapping Muslims: NYPD Spying and its Impact on American Muslims <pdf>. The report is an unprecedented account of the devastating impacts of NYPD practices on American Muslims, much of it told directly in the voice of affected community members
CLEAR has undertaken strategic litigation that grows organically out of our direct client representations and community-based partnerships. In this effort, CLEAR aims to partner with larger impact-litigation groups, while ensuring that a wider range of needs and issues are addressed. CLEAR invited the ACLU and the NYCLU to partner in challenging the NYPD surveillance program of suspicionless surveillance of Muslim communities, leading to Raza v. City of New York . CLEAR also partners with the Center for Constitutional Rights in our Tanvir v. Holder , a challenge to the FBI's abuse of the No-Fly List in order to coerce our clients to become FBI informants. As CLEAR continues to learn about evolving policies and challenges, we systematically consider other potential challenges.
The Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility (CLEAR) project, housed at Main Street Legal Services, has put out a report in conjunction with its partner organizations, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) and the Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition (MACLC).
The report is based on in-depth interviews and presents an unprecedented collection of voices from affected community members. It documents the impacts of NYPD surveillance on various aspects of religious, political, and community life. The report details how the NYPD's extensive spying program creates a pervasive climate of fear and suspicion that encroaches upon every aspect of American Muslims' lives, and severs the essential relationship of trust that should exist between law enforcement agencies and the communities they are charged with protecting.
Are you a community member interested in CLEAR’s services?CLEAR services are provided free of charge.
Phone: (718) 340-4558
Are you a law student interested in CLEAR?
Third-year students enrolled in CLEAR commit to meeting once a week to discuss active cases and projects. Independent study credit is available.
CLEAR is also open to first and second year student participation in some of our organizing and rights-awareness work.
Interested students are encouraged to reach out to CLEAR supervising attorneys to discuss their availability and involvement.