Border Patrol Guy Keeps Montana Safe From Two US Citizens Speaking Spanish
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:
Speaking Spanish is not a valid reason for Border Patrol to question or detain you.— ACLU (@ACLU) May 21, 2018
The Constitution prohibits all law enforcement agencies, including @CBP, from racial profiling and arbitrary searches and detentions.https://t.co/M5T9ZsBKEv
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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