Border Patrol Agent Detains Two Women for Speaking Spanish


A U.S. Border Patrol agent stopped a woman in Montana for specking spanish in a gas station convenience store.

Kristina Dawkins, Staff Writer

On May 16, A Montana woman by the name of Ana Suda recorded an interaction she had with a border patrol agent who stopped her after he overheard her speaking Spanish.

On Wednesday morning, Suda and her friend were both making a midnight run to the store to pick up eggs and milk. As both Suda and her friend are Mexican American who speak fluent Spanish, it set off an alarm in the mind of a Montana Border Patrol officer. “We were just talking, and then I was going to pay,” Suda said. “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 said she felt uncomfortable and began recording the encounter with her cellphone after they had moved into the parking lot. Denying racial bias, the officer explained to them that the reason he stopped them was because he had “heard them speaking Spanish, a language not commonly used in that area.” Suda and her friend, both shaken and upset by 45-minute encounter, explained that they were, “so embarrassed … being outside at the gas station, and everybody’s looking at you like you’re doing something wrong. I don’t think speaking Spanish is something criminal, you know? My friend, she started crying. She didn’t stop crying in the truck. And I told her, we are not doing anything wrong.”

After getting home, Suda posted the video on Facebook, which has garnered much attention from the media and her  seven year-old daughter, who asked her mom if the video meant they could never speak Spanish in public again. 12th grader Ashlie Dawkins says that the, “police brutality that is so rampant these days is an abuse of power on all ends.” The captured incident has also been recognized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection which has come out saying that the agency is reviewing the incident to ensure all policies were followed. “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,” the agency explains. Border Patrol agents have authorization to operate within 100 miles of any U.S. border.

Suda has decided to take legal action, contacting the ACLU, the American Civil Liberties Union, for further guidance. 10th grader Miya Felder feels that in terms of unity, “that where we are right now is one of the closest spots we’ve been.” Suda acknowledges this truth as her motivation for taking legal action spawns from wanting “people to know they have the right to speak whatever language they want.” The ACLU has released a statement saying that speaking Spanish isn’t a valid reason to detain or question someone, as The Constitution prohibits all law enforcement agencies, including CBP (Customs Border Protection), from racial profiling and arbitrary searches and detentions.”