HELENA — A judge is considering the U.S. government’s request to throw out a lawsuit by two women who say they were illegally questioned by border agents for 40 minutes for speaking Spanish in a convenience store.
U.S. District Judge Brian Morris was scheduled to hear motions to dismiss the lawsuit filed by Ana Suda and Martha “Mimi” Hernandez on Wednesday. They say U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agent Paul O’Neill detained them in a parking lot in Havre last year in violation of constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizures.
They are asking Morris to block the agency from detaining anyone based on race, accent or language alone, and to award them an unspecified amount for damages.
Attorneys for the agency say it has sovereign immunity against damage claims and the women are unlikely to be stopped again.
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