Two U.S. citizens at a northern Montana gas station were questioned by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer for speaking Spanish.
Ana Suda told multiple news outlets she and her friend Mimi Hernandez were about pay for eggs and milk at a convenience store gas station on Wednesday in Havre, Mont., about 35 miles south of the U.S.-Canada border, when a Border Patrol officer asked for her identification.
Suda recorded the encounter, where the agent says the two were brought outside for questioning because they were “speaking Spanish in the store, in a state where it’s predominantly English-speaking.”
“I was so embarrassed … being outside in 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?” Suda told The Washington Post. “My friend, she started crying. She didn’t stop crying in the truck. And I told her, we are not doing anything wrong.”
Suda told Montana TV station KRTV they were not allowed to leave the gas station for about 35 minutes.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is reviewing the case “to ensure that all appropriate policies were followed,” according to a statement sent to USA TODAY.
“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,” U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in the statement. “They have the authority to question individuals, make arrests, and take and consider evidence.”
Suda told The Post she plans to take legal action.
Read or Share this story: https://usat.ly/2rZyhUl