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Rights and Responsibilities

In the United States, laws protect the rights of all people. You must learn and follow the laws. You must know what may happen if you break the law. Breaking the law can lead to fines or jail and affect your immigration status. You may even be deported.

You may download this page as a PDF, watch, or listen to this information in a podcast. Downloadable PDFs, podcasts, and videos provide the same information as the webpage in different formats.

Four Basic Rights to Remember:

  1. You have civil rights, such as freedom of speech and religion.
  2. You have the right to work. No one can use your race, religion, sex, and national origin to deny you a job.
  3. All children under the age of 18 have the right to be safe and protected from harm. 
  4. If you are a victim of a crime, you have the right to seek legal action. To report a crime, contact the police. If it is an emergency, call 911
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Four Basic Responsibilities to Follow:

  1. It is illegal to harm or injure another person, including family members. Harm can include harassment, sexual assault, and domestic violence.
  2. It is illegal to force a person to act against their will. No one can force you to marry or force you to work and not be paid. 
  3. It is illegal to abuse children or leave children without adult supervision.
  4. It is illegal to purchase, sell, or use certain drugs, such as heroin and cocaine
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Two Other Important Laws to Know:

  1. You must be 21 years old to purchase or consume alcohol. 
  2. You must have a driver’s license to drive a car. 

You also must learn about state and local laws. This includes laws related to smoking cigarettes in public spaces, housing, and fishing and hunting without a license. 

Remember: There are many laws in the United States. Not knowing the law, does not prevent you from being punished if you break the law

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Learn on the go

The Settle In app is a helpful companion to support you during your resettlement journey to the United States. Learn about life in the United States and build your skills with fun quizzes and lessons. 

More ways to learn

With interactive lessons and videos, there’s always something new to discover. Settle In makes it fun to learn about resettling in the United States. Learn at your own pace – we’re here to guide the way.

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The content on this website is developed by the Cultural Orientation Resource Exchange (CORE), is in the public domain, and may be reproduced. The contents of this website were developed under an agreement financed by the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, United States Department of State, but do not necessarily represent the policy of that agency and should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.