Women Detained by Border Agent After Speaking Spanish Sue

Rare | 2/17/2019 | Silke Jasso
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HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Two Montana women questioned by a U.S. border agent who overheard them speaking Spanish in a convenience store sued U.S. Customs and Border Protection on Thursday, saying the agent illegally detained them without reason.

The agent held Ana Suda and Martha Hernandez for 40 minutes in a parking lot in the city of Havre in May 2018 without reasonable suspicion or probable cause, according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Great Falls.

Reason - Line - Milk - Eggs - Suda

His only reason for doing so, they said, was because they were taking in Spanish while waiting in line to buy milk and eggs. Suda took a video of the parking lot encounter with CBP Agent Paul O’Neill in which she asks him why he wanted their identifications. “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,” O’Neill said in the video.

CBP spokesman Jason Givens said Thursday the agency doesn’t comment on pending litigation. The women’s ACLU lawyers say O’Neill should have let them go as soon as they identified themselves as U.S. citizens, but he instead detained them in violation of the Fourth...
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