Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility

Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility (CLEAR) is a project 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 between the Immigrant & Non-Citizen Rights Clinic, directed by Professor Ramzi Kassem, and the Defenders Clinic, directed by Professor Steve Zeidman. CLEAR is predominantly staffed by law students from both clinics in their final year of study, working under the supervision of law faculty.

The CLEAR 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. Since the project's inception in 2009, our work has developed along three axes:

  1. 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.

  2. Know-Your-Rights presentations
    CLEAR teams have given know-your-rights (KYR) presentations at mosques and other community centers on how to interact with law enforcement, on informants and infiltration, on charitable giving, and on travel.

  3. Documentation campaigns
    CLEAR teams assist local organizations with documentation campaigns that aim to canvass affected populations in order to record encounters with law enforcement and the impact of national security and counter-terrorism policies and practices.

CLEAR services are provided free of charge.

Professors and Supervising Attorneys


Phone: (718) 340-4558

For more info on CUNY CLEAR, visit

Mapping Muslims: NYPD Spying and its Impact on American Muslims <pdf>

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.

View the report <pdf>

Read the full press release