Border Patrol stops and questions women for speaking Spanish

Two women, both U.S. citizens, were detained for 30-40 minutes by a Border Patrol agent just because they were speaking Spanish to each other in a gas station convenience store in Havre, Montana. After the agent removed them from the store and continued questioning them in the parking lot, Ana Suda started taking a cell phone video:

“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.”

In case you caught only the headlines last week, here’s a description of Attorney General Sessions’ latest restriction on the authority of immigration judges.

Jeff Sessions just reopened the door to deporting 350,000 immigrants whose cases had been closed (Vox, 5/21/18)

“According to legal advocates, prosecutors often pushed to close cases in which the immigrant had a good chance of being found eligible for some sort of relief from deportation like asylum. Immigrants had a choice: They could allow their case to get closed — they wouldn’t get legal status, but they wouldn’t be ordered deported either — or they could keep fighting to get official relief, but the prosecution would fight them every step of the way.

“Hundreds of thousands of immigrants took the first option. As of September 2018, there were more than 350,000 cases that had been closed and never reopened.

“Sessions just ruled that the whole process was illegal.”

In other news:

  • Republican discord over immigration
  • ICE arrests up, detentions up, deportations down
  • Saving America’s soul?
  • What U.S. could learn from Canada about asylum seekers

Republican discord over immigration

Republican leaders search for a path amid immigration civil war (CNN, 5/21/18)

“Last September, Paul Ryan had an idea.The House speaker gathered together a group of Republican thought leaders on immigration and border security and gave them a mission: agree on something.

“They couldn’t.”

And they still can’t.

GOP Rep. Jeff Denham: It’s time to force a vote on DACA (Los Angeles Times, 5/21/18)

“Last week, Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) took an unusual step by filing what’s called a “discharge petition” on a resolution that I had proposed. If the House supports the petition — and so far 196 representatives of the 218 needed for a majority do — that will set up votes on four DACA-related bills: the Securing America’s Future Act written by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.); the DREAM Act; an immigration bill of Speaker Paul Ryan’s choosing; and the USA Act, which I co-wrote with Reps. Pete Aguilar (D-Redlands) and Will Hurd (D-Texas)….

“Discharged bills can be brought to the House floor only on the second and fourth Monday of each month, and only when the House is in session. This gives us only two dates that would allow enough time for a bill to make it through the Senate and onto the president’s desk in 2018: June 25 and July 23. Unless the House leaders decide to put a bill on the floor — and they might — this is our last real shot in this Congress to force the debate on DACA.”

Vulnerable CA Republicans not fully on board with Trump’s sanctuary state attacks (Sacramento Bee, 5/18/18)

“While the state’s congressional Republicans do routinely condemn local sanctuary policies, several declined to align themselves with the White House’s hardcore stance — which includes penalizing sanctuary cities and states.”

In other news

ICE deportations only half levels of five years ago (Syracuse University TRAC, 5/17/18) Immigration arrests and detentions are up since January 2017, but deportations are down.  Nearly half of those deported have no criminal record other than illegal entry, and another 10 percent have only a traffic violation or DUI. Only 24 percent of those deported under Trump have a serious criminal record.

Ripping children from parents will shatter America’s soul (Washington Post, 5/18/18) Viet Thanh Nguyen, author of the Pulitzer-prize-winning novel, The Sympathizer, recalls his own separation from his parents as a refugee from Vietnam, “howling with fear and pain as I was taken from my mother, too young to understand that I would be returned to her in a few months.”

“Sessions is a law-and-order man who believes he is protecting our country. I’m a man, a son, a father and a writer who worries about our nation losing its soul.

“The intent of this policy is punitive. In practice, it will undoubtedly lead to shattered families. As Democratic Texas Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke says, “You are either for separating children from their parents or you are against it. I am against it.” Me too.”

Asylum seekers have flooded into Canada. The government is putting them to work. (Washington Post, 5/20/18)

“Canadian policymakers are bolstering one tactic to ease the burden: They’re integrating refugee claimants as quickly as possible into the job market….

“There was a big need, an urgent need, for employees,” said company spokesman Richard ­Vigneault. “They’re very much willing to work. We train them; they’re very fast. . . . We’re very satisfied.”


About Mary Turck

News Day, written by Mary Turck, analyzes, summarizes, links to, and comments on reports from news media around the world, with particular attention to immigration, education, and journalism. Fragments, also written by Mary Turck, has fiction, poetry and some creative non-fiction. Mary Turck edited TC Daily Planet,, from 2007-2014, and edited the award-winning Connection to the Americas and AMERICAS.ORG, in its pre-2008 version. She is also a recovering attorney and the author of many books for young people (and a few for adults), mostly focusing on historical and social issues.
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