EL PASO, Texas - In a video making the rounds on social media, a Border Patrol agent in the state of Montana is seen detaining an El Paso woman and her friend for speaking Spanish.
The video surfaced this week and has many questioning his actions. The woman seen in the video, Ana Suda, was born in El Paso but raised in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
Suda told ABC-7 she and a friend were at a convenience store and about to pay for their items. "I needed some eggs and my friend needed some milk for her daughter and we decided to go there," Suda said.
"I was next in line when I heard my friend say something in Spanish and then I looked and a Border Patrol agent was behind me," Suda said.
Suda told ABC-7 the agent stopped them. "He asked where I was born, so I looked at him and I said, 'Are you serious?' He's, like, 'Yes, I'm serious,' but, you know, with a very authoritative voice," Suda said.
Suda said she asked if she could pay for her items.
"He's, like, 'No, give me your I.D.' I said, 'I will give you my I.D. and I will go and pick up my cellular phone because I'm going to record you,'" Suda said.
Suda did just that. She recorded the incident and asked the agent why she was being detained.
"M'am, the reason I asked you for your I.D. is because I came and saw that you guys were speaking Spanish which is very unheard of up here," said the agent, who identified himself as Agent O'Neal.
"I was shocked. I was like, 'Just because I speak Spanish?' I was waiting for something else," Suda said.
Suda told ABC-7 her friend, also asked to provide identification, took the incident a little harder.
"She asked 'why is this happening to us? What did we do wrong? Because we said something in Spanish?' and it's embarrassing, people look at you like you did something wrong," Suda said.
Suda told ABC-7 she will be pursuing a lawsuit, not only for what she went through, but for her community as well.
"I have a daughter, she's 7 years old and she speaks Spanish and English perfectly with no accent. I want my daughter to be able to speak Spanish if she wants to without feeling bad," Suda said.
U.S. Customs & Border Protection sent the following statement to MTN News, who first reported the news in Montana: “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.”