Women Detained in Montana for Speaking Spanish

Lloyd Doyle
May 22, 2018

They were just chatting in Spanish - but two US citizens say that's what caused a Border Patrol agent in northern Montana to stop them and ask for ID.

In an interview with the Washington Post, Suda, whose husband is a former probation officer with the Montana Department of Corrections, said she will be reaching out to the ACLU for legal help filing a lawsuit over the incident.

Suda said her 7-year-old daughter was unsure whether they should be speaking Spanish in public anymore after watching the video.

Suda was born in El Paso, Texas, and raised in the Mexican city of Ciudad Juárez. Hernandez is originally from central California, Suda said. She told the Washington Post that she planned to contact the American Civil Liberties Union for legal advice.

"I looked at him like, 'Are you serious?' He's like, 'Yeah, very serious, '" Suda told the newspaper.

Suda said she felt uncomfortable and began recording the encounter with her cellphone after they had moved into the parking lot.


The two women complied and gave him their IDs, but he didn't allow them to leave the parking lot for 35 to 40 minutes. Because we said something in Spanish?' and it's embarrassing, people look at you like you did something wrong, ' Suda said. "I don't think speaking Spanish is something criminal, you know?" She didn't stop crying in the truck. "I want her to know she can speak Spanish in whatever place she wants and nothing happens and no one is going to stop her just because she speaks Spanish".

"She asked why is this happening to us saying, 'What did we do wrong?" Last year, the 183 agents in the Havre sector made 39 arrests - just.01 percent of the 310,531 arrests made nationwide made by Border Patrol agents. She said it wasn't just for her - it was for her daughter and her community as well. Border Patrol agents are trained to decide to question individuals based on a variety of factors, the agency added. I cannot believe this happened, ' Suda told MTN news. Suda said she and Hernandez were speaking in Spanish with each other in the checkout line when a uniformed Border Patrol officer stopped them to check for identification.

Havre, a rural town with an estimated population of 10,000, is located in northern Montana, near the U.S. So she said she would give him her ID, but she wanted to get her phone out of her auto so she could record their interaction.

"Although most Border Patrol work is conducted in the immediate border area, agents have broad law enforcement authorities and are not limited to a specific geography within the United States", the statement reads. "I say, 'Montana is ideal, ' because I love the people here".

Two key court decisions affirm the authority of the Border patrol to operate checkpoints and to question occupants of vehicles about their citizenship, request document proof of immigration status, and make quick observations of what is in plain view in the interior of the vehicle.

The officer identified himself as Agent O'Neal in the video, and said that his actions were not racially-motivated. "When you see somebody stopped by police, what do you think?" "It's very unheard of over here", the officer adds.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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