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Luigi and Mario won't even acknowledge he's part of the family.


Last week in the tiny town of Havre, Montana (motto, for real: "You Know What They Say About Havre -- You Can Have Her"), a Border Patrol agent sprang into action at the chance to protect America from the scourge of illegal aliens: He detained two Mexican-American women, both of them born here in the grand old Homeland, to question them about their identity and citizenship status because they were speaking Spanish while standing in line at a convenience store. The agent explained to the women that their use of Not English made him pretty darn suspicious. That, and being a Border Patrol asshole in the Trump Era.

Ana Suda said she and her friend, Mimi Hernandez, were making a midnight run to the store to pick up eggs and milk. Both are Mexican American and speak fluent Spanish, and they had exchanged some words in Spanish while waiting in line to pay when a uniformed Border Patrol agent interrupted them, Suda said.

“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.’ ”

Now hold on a second, speaking Spanish in a state named Montana, which is in no way the Spanish word for a thing Montana has a lot of (rednecks)! Shocking! We can see why he would have alerted on that. As everyone knows, illegals are just like the Body Snatchers: There's no telling them from real people except for how they talk all funny and point at you and scream. These gals were already on step one of that, as he explained to Ms. Suda when she followed him out to the parking lot with her phone (and somehow lived to tell the tale):

Ma'am, the reason I asked you for your ID is because I came in here and saw that you guys are speaking Spanish, which is very unheard of up here.

Excuse us, Mr. Border Patrol Man, we happen to know the law, and the law is very clear: You can't use an intensifier on an absolute term like "unheard of." Also, see that thing about the name of the damn state.

Ms. Suda told KRTV that the whole thing was pretty shocking to her:

My family was asking me, because my family is still in Texas, and they were asking me, how is Montana about this? I said I have never had a problem before. I say Montana is perfect. I love the people here, the people are so nice. It is nicer than other states. I can not believe this happened.

Suda also told the Washington Post the entire interaction was embarrassing, because "everybody’s looking at you like you’re doing something wrong." She said when her friend got back to their vehicle, she "didn't stop crying," and that after she posted the video to Facebook and the story made the TV news, her 7-year-old daughter asked,

"Mom, we can’t speak Spanish anymore?" I said "No. You be proud. You are smart. You speak two languages." This is more for her.

Don't worry, we bet if you look on Twitter, some genius will say she made up the thing about the kid, because some people have never seen a precocious child in their own families.

After spending 35 minutes in the middle of the goddamn night making sure two US citizens were really US citizens (Suda was born in El Paso and raised in its Mexican sister city, Ciudad Juarez; Hernandez hails from California, which Sarah Palin explained years ago isn't really America either), Officer Asshat let them go about their business. Probably human trafficking, or even watching cable TV in Spanish, for all we know.

When the women asked him if they were being racially profiled, he explained, don't be silly: You're being linguistically profiled.

It has nothing to do with that [...] 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.

Havre (pronounced like what those Scottish guys said they would do in addition to walking a thousand miles to fall down at your door) is indeed in north-central Montana, right up against the Canadian border. But if you want to get all fussy about it, a good 1.2 percent of residents primarily speak Spanish at home. That's definitely more than "unknown," Agent Prickface.

The ACLU is looking into the incident, and says, no, "speaking Spanish" is not sufficient cause to detain people and demand their papers.

“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 ACLU is also calling attention to the case on Twitter, for all the good it'll do:

Fortunately, a spokesperson for U.S. Customs and Border Protection told WaPo the agency is investigating the incident to at least make the pretense that what happened is not okay within the bounds of the New Cruelty, which is technically supposed to leave US citizens alone, but often doesn't. The agency also issued this boilerplate about respect 'n' shit:

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 [...] 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.

Down at the bottom, in little teensy type, the statement also read, "Fuck you, we'll do what we want, and you snowflakes will just have to live with it because we're the only federal law enforcement agency the boss will NEVER criticize! MAGA!"

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[Washington Post / KRTV]

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Fellow Wonkers, this last week of horror has been wearing on us all, because here we are in a world where the "president" of the United States has ordered that migrant children be taken away from their parents at the border, and is simultaneously proud of it (for his base) and cravenly blaming it on Democrats because even he knows it's morally reprehensible. But what the hell can we do about it beyond calling our senators and representatives and posting sadness on Twitter, the latter of which is of dubious utility to anyone, and mostly depressing?

Resist the urge to disappear into a bottle. The kids and the families need you.

Slate has compiled a great list of places to start, which we will liberally summarize for you right now:

The thing these folks need most is LAWYERS. If you're an immigration lawyer, you're probably already swamped. But on the off chance you have time and expertise to spare, the American Immigration Lawyers Association is building a list of volunteers.

Yr Dok Zoom has given money to the fine folks at RAICES, a San Antonio-based group that has two major projects. They're getting lawyers for migrant families (and for the kids when possible) and raising money to pay migrant parents' bond so they can be out of jail and with their families. If you're in Texas, then click here to volunteer!

Update: RAICES is also holding a "what you can do" webinar this Thursday:



Also for folks who are in Texas:

The Texas Civil Rights Project is seeking "volunteers who speak Spanish, Mam, Q'eqchi' or K'iche' and have paralegal or legal assistant experience."

There's also CARA -- an umbrella organization for the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, the American Immigration Council, the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, and the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Together, they provide legal services at immigration detention centers.

To help kids who are already in immigration detention, there's Kids in Need of Defense, which provides children with representation in immigration court and also lobbies for children's legal interests. Donate here.

If you're not quite sure where to give, ActBlue has bundled several immigrant rights groups into a single donation button -- see the list and donate here.

Remember, there's always the ACLU, which is fighting family separation with a federal class action lawsuit.

You want to march? Former top government ethics lawyer Walter Shaub, who gave up trying to tell the Trump administration what ethics even are, will be announcing the details of a national march (think DC and local affiliated marches) tonight on MSNBC's "All In with Chris Hayes." We'll make noise here, too.

Good people are coming together to put an end to this cruelty. EVERY Democrat in the Senate is now co-sponsoring Dianne Feinstein's bill to stop family separation.

And hell, we'll even give the last word to Jennifer Rubin, who seems to have reassessed some of her previous political views. She has a reminder for all of us:

Damn straight. Remember it every damn day between now and then.

It's your open thread. Don't boo -- organize. Time to RESIST.

Follow Doktor Zoom on Twitter

Don't take for granted that the institutions you love will always be there, like democracy, and Wonkette. Click to save at least one of them!

[Slate]

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There are perks to being the only Harvard professor willing to shill for the Bush League Mussolini. Everyone else has to haul ass to the Fox studio and sit for hair and makeup. Not Alan Dershowitz! He just parks his laptop in Pee Wee's playhouse and Skypes in that rant. Is he even wearing pants? We hope never to find out!

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