On Wednesday- in a Havre, Montana parking lot for 35 to 40 minutes-Ana Suda 37 said she and her friend, Mimi Hernandez, were making a midnight run to a local store to pick up eggs and milk. Both ladies speak fluent English, but they exchanged some words in Spanish while waiting in line to pay when a uniformed Border Patrol agent interrupted them, Suda said.
(For the record-Havre, Montana, is a rural town with a population of about 10,000, about 35 miles south of the U.S.-Canada border)
“We were just talking, and then I was going to pay,” Suda told The Washington Post in a recent interview.
“I looked up [and saw the agent], and then after that, he just requested my ID. I looked at him like, ‘Are you serious?’ He’s like, ‘Yeah, very serious.’ ”
Suda instantly became uncomfortable and began to record the encounter with her cell phone after they had moved into the parking lot.
In the video Suda recorded, she asks the agent why he is detaining them in the grocery store parking lot for 35 to 40 minutes and he says it is specifically because he heard them speaking Spanish.
“Ma’am, the reason I asked you for your ID is because I came in here, and I saw that you guys are speaking Spanish, which is very unheard of up here,” the agent can be heard saying in the video.
Suda asks whether they are being racially profiled; the agent says no.
“It has nothing to do with that,” the agent tells her. “It’s the fact that it has to do with you guys speaking Spanish in the store, in a state where it’s predominantly English-speaking.”
Suda said she and Hernandez were left shaken and upset by the encounter, which ended around 1 a.m. (See full video below)
In the Aftermath-The American Civil Liberties Union on Monday said, speaking Spanish is not a valid reason for a Border Patrol agent to question or detain someone and is looking into the matter further.
“There’s citizens whose first language isn’t English or who are limited in English and that doesn’t mean they are committing an immigration offense,” said Astrid Dominguez, director of the ACLU’s Border Rights Center. “
The constitution prohibits racially profiling. You need to have reasonable suspicion [of an offense before detaining someone and speaking Spanish isn’t one of them.”
The incident comes after a flurry of outrageous incidents where U.S. Immigration officials have totally violated U.S. citizens constitutional rights from around the country.
Many Americans are now growing more frustrated daily as the Trump Administration’s official policy actually seems to be warranting unfair Immigration policy and the mistreatment of thousands of American Citizens.
Apolitical America will keep you updated on further developments about what many are calling the, “shameful U.S. Immigration policy.‘
Gregg L. Greer a Public Speaker, Pastor, Social Activist, and the Editor of the One World internet journal. Greer is the Founder of Freedom First International a human rights NGO. He has written extensively about American politics, civil rights, and the intersection of social justice and politics. Greer is the Founder of Black America World News. His stories have also appeared in The Huffington Post, CNN. Greer writes commentary on Apolitical America, MSNBC Online and others. Listen to his radio podcast at OneWorld Talks -if you are interested in interviews from him and others of the brightest minds today, you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org His website is www.gregglgreer.com