Montana women sue border patrol over racial profiling claims

Posted at 1:34 PM, Feb 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-14 13:34:58-05

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Two Montana women who were questioned by a U.S. border agent who overheard them speaking Spanish are suing the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, claiming the agent had no reason to detain them.

Ana Suda and Martha Hernandez say in their lawsuit filed Thursday in U.S. District Court that the agent held them for 40 minutes in the town of Havre in May 2018 without reasonable suspicion or probable cause.

Suda took a video of the agent saying that speaking Spanish "is very unheard of up here."

The women are U.S. citizens. Their ACLU lawyers are asking for compensation and an order barring border officials from stopping or detaining anyone based on race, accent or language.

A Customs and Border Patrol spokesman says the agency doesn't comment on pending litigation.