Regardless of your views on illegal immigration, border security officials must be careful what method they use to determine whether or not somebody is detained or even approached on suspicion of being in the country illegally.
A border patrol agent in Montana is alleged to have stopped a pair of U.S. citizens outside a gas station because they were “speaking Spanish.”
Cell phone footage captured part of the incident and it should be noted that context prior to what is on the video has thus far only been provided by those questioned.
According to the pair, Ana Suda and Mimi Hernandez, the agent asked for identification at the station after making a brief stop for milk and eggs.
When asked why they were required to provide identification, the agent responded: “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.”
Ana Suda and her friend, Mimi Hernandez, were making a midnight run to the store to pick up eggs and milk. Suddenly, a Border Patrol agent detained and questioned them. Why? They had committed the offense of speaking Spanish in Montana. Both are Americans. https://t.co/6V3AUOmnmr
— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) May 21, 2018
Because it’s not really about justice, it’s about money, Suda has filed a complaint and gotten the ACLU involved.
Most people probably would have simply provided their ID, complained about the inconvenience and moved on with their lives. But the video has landed the border agent in some hot water.
He has been accused of racial profiling.
“It has nothing to do with that,” he insisted. “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.”
WEDNESDAY, BORDER PATROL DETAINED Ana Suda & Mimi Hernandez, BOTH US CITIZENS
…for speaking Spanish in a Montana store.
Agent O’Neil: “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”pic.twitter.com/5pgSLkj5dn
— Trump’s ZombieLand ❄ (@StevenReyCristo) May 21, 2018
U.S. Customs and Border Patrol are currently reviewing the incident, providing a statement that implies they support the agent as he has broad authority to question people.
“U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents and officers are committed to treating everyone with professionalism, dignity and respect while enforcing the laws of the United States,” the agency wrote. “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. They have the authority to question individuals, make arrests, and take and consider evidence.”
This is accurate, as nothing in the video actually indicates the pair were “detained” or that they were held there against their will.
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