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ACLU Sues Border Patrol for Detaining MT Women

Big Sky Connection


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Eric Tegethoff

Febryary 15, 2019
HAVRE, Montana - Two women who were detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection after an agent overheard them speaking Spanish are suing the agency. 

Martha Hernandez and Ana Suda were questioned last year outside a convenience store in Havre, near the Canadian border. Both women are U.S. citizens, but were held for 40 minutes while the Border Patrol agent questioned them and called for backup. 

The ACLU of Montana filed the lawsuit on their behalf in a U.S. District Court on Thursday, claiming the agent violated their constitutional right against unreasonable searches.

Caitlin Borgmann, executive director of the ACLU of Montana says the agent had no justification for stopping them.

"There was no reason to believe that either them had violated the law," says Borgmann. "It was frightening and humiliating for these two women, who are now left feeling unsafe in their own community. And they know that it's also threatening for anybody else who speaks a different language or is a person of color in Montana."

In video taken by Suda, the agent says he detained them because speaking Spanish is "very unheard of up here." Suda later asks the agent's supervisor if they would've been detained if they were speaking French and he says no. 

The Border Patrol says it doesn't comment on pending litigation.

Suda and Hernandez say they and their kids have been harassed since this incident. Borgmann calls the women brave for standing up for themselves, and cites similar situations across the country because of the Trump administration's ramped-up immigration policies.

"We're talking about two U.S. citizens, but everybody with brown skin or who sounds like they have a Spanish accent perhaps, or who is heard speaking Spanish immediately becomes suspect," says Borgmann. "And so, it reaches far beyond undocumented individuals."

The ACLU is calling on Border Patrol agents to stop detaining people based on their race, accent or the language they speak.

Top news stories for February 15, 2019

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Friday, February 15, 2019
- Shutdown averted and a national emergency declaration; A push in Iowa for virtual caucus attendance for 2020 primaries; and concerns about legislation that could hide oil pipeline records. We have those stories and more in today’s news.

New Little League Girls’ Fast pitch Softball League


BUTTE, MT – The Copper City Softball Little League announced today that a new girls’ city-wide softball little league has been established and will be in operation for the 2019 season. This new softball-only little league program will replace the softball programs at both Northwest and Mile High Little League.


Copper City Softball welcomes girls 7 to 16 years of age. It welcomes girls of all skill levels, including those new to the sport. The mission of Copper City Softball is to create a city-wide girls’ softball program with the goal of providing quality instruction at all levels while focusing on sportsmanship, teamwork, competitiveness, and fair play.


The new league will not include T-ball and coach-pitch divisions (ages 4 to 6). These girls will continue to play in the combined boys/girls divisions at either Mile High or Northwest Little League which is dependent on their home address.


Copper City Softball was formed as a direct result of the downward trend in softball participation over the past several years. The organizers of Copper City Softball feared that this continued downward trend could potentially result in the loss of girls’ little league softball in our community.  “Both Northwest and Mile High Little Leagues have been instrumental in getting Copper City Softball off the ground, and they will continue to be a critical part of our organization moving forward,” commented new league President Amy Babb.


Copper City Softball Little League is looking forward to a successful inaugural season. The new league will be hosting registration in the cafeteria at East Middle School in conjunction with Mile High and Northwest Little


League registration.

Registration will take place on February 26th and 27th; from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Registration is open to all girls living in Silver Bow County. Board members and coaches will be present to answer questions and provide assistance.


The registration fee is $100 and will be due at time of registration. Scholarships are available for those needing help with covering the cost of registration.  If you are unable to attend either of the registration nights, registration can be completed online at


Teams will begin practice in April with games to begin in May. Both of these dates will be weather dependent. In addition, Copper City Softball Little League will be hosting a “kick-off” fundraiser at Buffalo Wild Wings on Wednesday, February 20th. A portion of all sales from this day will be donated to Copper City Softball. Please mark your calendars and come out and show your support for the new league!


For any additional questions, please send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., visit or check us out on Facebook



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