In an article entitled, “A Border Patrol agent detained two U.S. citizens at a gas station after hearing them speak Spanish,” the Washington Post describes in disturbing detail how two U.S. citizens were detained by a Border Patrol agent outside a Montana gas station for speaking Spanish. The accompanying video captures the incident for all to see (http://bit.ly/2x2kIsS ).
The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agent openly admits that he questioned American citizens Ana Suda and Mimi Hernández in Havre, MT, solely because he heard them speaking in Spanish to each other. As the Post recaps: “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,” the agent can be heard saying in the video.
Suda asks whether they are being racially profiled; the agent says no.
“It has nothing to do with that,” the agent tells her. “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.”
While Border Patrol and ICE agents have long been known for racial profiling, it’s clear to all that Trump’s campaign and presidency have “unshackled” these agents so that they can indiscriminately target and harass people with impunity. This climate also has empowered disturbing acts of vigilantism, such as the anti-Spanish rantings and anti-immigrant threats made by the New York attorney Aaron Schlossberg earlier this month.
“In Trump’s America, speaking Spanish is evidently enough to make you a suspect. Immigrants who do so are subject to questioning, harassment, and detention. In Trump’s view, immigrants are criminals and animals, and the bedrock principle of the American experiment – equal justice under the law – does not apply to people of color,” stated Pili Tobar, Managing Director of America’s Voice.
“Will DHS crack down on this sort of unlawful behavior? Don’t count on it. This administration empowers and rewards anti-immigrant sentiments and actions without accountability or shame,” Tobar noted the divisiveness.
“This isn’t an isolated incident. This isn’t out of character for this President or this administration. The América of liberty and justice for all is, step by step, being replaced by a divided América in which angry people who want to blame and hurt those they consider ‘the other’ are being stoked and provoked by the man in the Oval Office.”
Tobar added, “That our tax dollars are paying for this Border Patrol agent to target U.S. citizens for speaking Spanish is unacceptable, and he must be held accountable. We are better than this.”