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Speaking Spanish Is Not Against the Law, Despite What Border Patrol Agents and Racist Lawyers May Have You Believe

The disgraced lawyer who lost his mind over a few people speaking Spanish at a deli in New York would be in good company in Montana.


A border patrol agent in Havre, Mont., claimed he did not racially profile two women when he stopped and questioned them for the sole reason that they were speaking Spanish.

Ana Suda, a 37-year-old U.S. citizen, reported that she plans to take action against the agent in question after he stopped her and her friend, Mimi Hernandez, for simply talking in Spanish.

The encounter took place late at night at a convenience store.

“We were just talking, and then I was going to pay,” Suda told The Washington Post. “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 recorded part of the incident with her cell phone.

“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, who identifies himself as Agent O’Neill, says.

But he isn’t racially profiling the women, he says.

“It has nothing to do with that,” he says. “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.”

Right.

Suda was born in Texas, raised in Mexico and has been living in the U.S. for the last decade-and-a-half with her husband and daughter. Hernandez was born in California.

Suda’s seven-year-old bilingual daughter became fearful of speaking Spanish after hearing what happened to her mother.

“She saw the video, she came to me and she asked me, ‘Does that mean we can’t speak Spanish anymore’ That’s very sad,” Suda told NBC News.

“I told her, ‘No, you are very smart, you speak two languages. You need to be proud to speak Spanish,'” Suda added. “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.”

The American Civil Liberties Union is looking into what happened to Suda and her friend, according to media reports. It posted on Twitter regarding the incident, “Speaking Spanish is not a valid reason for Border Patrol to question or detain you.”

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