The American Civil Liberties Union said on Tuesday that two American women, who were detained two years ago after speaking Spanish at a convenience store in Montana, have reached a settlement in their lawsuit against the Trump administration.
The women, Ana Suda and Martha “Mimi” Hernandez, both US citizens, were conversing in Spanish as they bought eggs and milk in Hader on the night of May 16, 2018, in a small town about 35 miles from the Canadian border Had gone. . When a border patrol agent ignored him, Suda already said.
The agent, Paul O’Neill, “singled out, detained and interrogated” women “because they heard them speaking Spanish,” the lawsuit alleges.
The women recorded their exchange on video with O’Neill. In the video, Suda asks him why he is asking her his identity.
O’Neil replied, “Madam, the reason I asked you for your ID was because I came here, and I saw that you guys are speaking Spanish, which is very unheard of.” Suda then asks him if he and Hernández are being racially profiled; O’Neill replied no.
“It has nothing to do with it,” he says. “It’s the fact that it has to do with the Spanish-speaking people in the store with you, in a state where it’s primarily English-speaking.”
In a statement following the township’s announcement, Suda said: “We stood up for the government because speaking Spanish is not racially complex and disturbing. I am proud to be bilingual, and I hope this is the case.” As a result. CBP closely monitors its policies and practices. Nobody else should ever go through this again. “
The lawsuit, which the ACLU filed last year on behalf of Suda and Hernández, cites violations of the Fourth Amendment, which prohibit “unreasonable searches and seizures”. The ACLU argued that O’Neill had “no justified suspicion or probable cause, which justified confiscation and detention” other than “relying on his use of Spanish as a justification and camouflage for the race”.
During the litigation process, according to the ACNU, O’Neill also “handed out a number of inflammatory and racist text messages confirming his anti-immigrant bias.”
The two CBP representatives said in an email that the agency would “have nothing else outside the settlement details,” which it says “is not intended in any way, and should not be considered an admission of liability or mistake. Joint.” On the part of the States, its agents, servants or employees, and it is specifically denied that they are liable to the plaintiff. “
Katlin Borgman, executive director of ACLU of Montana, said in a statement, “As if the racism they experienced at the hands of CBP agents was not enough. Our customers also bear the brunt of the local backlash as a result.” The two eventually left Havre for fear of protecting their families. “
The agreement includes a monetary amount according to the ACLU, which declined to provide additional details.
“CBP’s behavior was irresponsible and illegal, but sadly not so,” said attorney Cody Wofsey, an employee of ACLU’s Immigrant’s Rights Project.
A CBP spokesman said, “Working tirelessly every day to keep our country safe, most employees and officers of the CBP perform their duty with respect and pride.”
“CBP officers and agents are trained to enforce US laws equally and fairly and they do not discriminate on the basis of religion, race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation,” the spokesman said.
‘Long term pattern’
Legal proceedings showed CBP agents in Havre engaged in “a long-term pattern of abusive seizures and investigations” that repeatedly targeted Latinx individuals without justification, often based on their race “ACLU Said, “A published Ninth Circuit opinion that a group of men were illegally detained in Havre in 2006 by holding that CBP agents.”
The ACLU received a video statement that a CBP supervisor gave during a CBP internal investigation. It shows the observer that he “saw nothing disturbing” about the incident involving O’Neill, referring to a time when he saw “two Mexicans” in a mall while on duty one night.
He said his first response was to alert CBP so that it could send an agent. He then learns that another off-duty CBP agent had already made the report.
“If there’s someone speaking Spanish, it’s like suddenly you’ve got five agents like, ‘What’s going on?” O’Neill said.
According to the video obtained by the ACLU, ONeal was also interviewed by CBP’s internal investigators.
According to the ACLU, additional evidence revealed during the trial also revealed that O’Neill was now a member of the “I am 10-15” Facebook group, where CBP agents joked about migrant deaths, The Latina members were talking about it. Congress visited a Texas detention center and posted rude depictions of the repeal. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, DN
The ACLU said that within the first six months of President-Elect Joe Biden’s administration, it wants to ensure “all CBP officers equally comply with the full Fourth Amendment standards” and some guidelines to prohibit non-discriminatory profiling Amendment of “without exception”. “
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