“We’re a nation of laws, but we’re also respecting the fact that we’re a nation of immigrants.” Barack Obama, February 25, 2015
Knowing Your Rights as an Immigrant Facing Job Discrimination & Personal Injury
An important part of the democratic ideal of the United States is that our government was established as a government of laws not of men. This ideal was first expressed by America’s founding fathers and it remains important enough to bear repeating by Barrack Obama today.
For immigrants who come to the United States this is an important concept to understand. It may also be quite different from what many of immigrants are used to back in their original homelands, whether that means Central or South America, or parts of Africa or the Middle East. In many parts of the world, the rule of law is tenuous at best, and government authority can be exercised in a much more arbitrary way. The rule of law in the United States, after all, is part of what continues to draw so many immigrants here in the first place, both directly and indirectly, since the rule of law is good in itself and also helps spur our economic growth.
We think it’s important for immigrants coming to the United States to understand this fundamental concept for several reasons. First of all, it’s important for you to know your own legal rights, and to understand how the laws of the United States affect you and your family. Whatever your personal situation happens to be, by understanding the laws and the legal system in the United States, it may help improve your situation and secure more opportunity for you and your family. This is true with respect to our immigration laws, which are very complicated. It is also true with other unique aspects of the American legal system. For example, if you have been injured in an accident or have been the victim of job discrimination, you may be entitled to protection or financial recovery. Even if you are here without legal documentation, you have legal rights that can be protected in the U.S. legal system.
But there’s another reason we think it’s important for you to understand some basic information about the U.S. legal system. It’s true that the laws of this country may be able to help and protect you and your family. But whether you’re an immigrant or an undocumented worker currently making your home here, it is also important for you to respect and do your best to uphold the laws of this country for as long as you’re here. Being better informed about your rights and respecting the laws of this country are two goods ways to start on the path of being a good member of the community you’re living in, no matter which side of the border ends up being your home.