The Bay Area Council on American Islamic Relations is handing out booklets reminding people of their rights in response to concerns Iranian Americans face heightened surveillance as tensions between the two countries escalates.
Some 60 people, mostly Iranian Americans, said they were detained over the weekend at the border between Canada and Washington state when they were returning to the United States.
Paris Etemadi Scott, legal director at the PARS Equality Center in San Jose, said Iranian clients flying into San Francisco International Airport are worried they will be detained. Scott said she is standing by to help make sure what happened in Canada does not happen in the Bay Area.
"This is unprecedented," Scott said. "This is mainly U.S. citizens of Iranian descent and there's no reason they should be interviewed."
Customs and Border Protection said it was understaffed at the Canadian border and disputes claims that agents detained Iranian Americans there.
Negah Hekmati is frustrated she and dozens of other Iranian Americans were detained for hours