Speaking Spanish In The United States Is Not A Crime

Speaking Spanish In The United States Is Not A Crime

No, English is not the official language of the United States.


Many bilingual people in the United States have been told the phrase, "Speak English! This is America!" or something of the sort. That mentality is what led to two Mexican-American women being detained by a border patrol agent.

Ana Suda and Mimi Hernandez went to a gas station in Havre, Montana and were having a conversation in Spanish as they were buying eggs and milk. This was supposedly so suspicious that a border patrol agent, named Agent O'Neill, decided to stop and question them. He asked them where they were born and Suda was taken aback by the question so she asked him if he was serious, to which he responded, "I'm very serious."

The conversation was then taken to the parking lot of the gas station and the agent asked the women for their identification. As Suda recorded the encounter on her cell phone, she asked O'Neill what his reasoning was for asking them for their IDs and he stated,

"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."

Obviously, his excuse makes absolutely no sense because hearing someone speak a language other than English does not mean that they are an immigrant. Suda also recognized how ridiculous his justification was and asked O'Neill if she was being racially profiled, but he said,

"It has nothing to do with that. 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."

Many Americans tend to equate being American with speaking English and that is why another common phrase told to someone not speaking English is "Speak American!" However, English is not the official language of the United States. There is no official language. This is a fact that many people tend to gloss over because they want to use the English language as a weapon against someone who either does not know the language or was not speaking it at the time. English is typically associated with whiteness and when some people hear a language other than English being spoken in the United States, they see it as not only an attack on the language but also an attack on white people.

Agent O'Neill may have felt annoyed or uncomfortable hearing Suda and Hernandez speaking Spanish in a state where English is mainly spoken, so he attempted to prove that the women were undocumented immigrants as a way to justify his annoyance. He ended up finding out that the two women were actually U.S. citizens. O'Neill then handed them back their documentation and told them they were free to go after keeping them in the gas station parking lot for about 35 to 40 minutes.

One of the most upsetting parts of the entire encounter is that when Suda's daughter saw the video of the agent questioning her and Hernandez, her daughter asked, "Does that mean we can't speak Spanish anymore?' That's very sad." Nobody should ever be made to feel ashamed of their heritage.

Being fluent in more than one language should be celebrated, not hidden. Suda told her daughter that she is intelligent for being fluent in two languages and that she should be proud of it. She then explained why she gave that response to her daughter and said,

"I want her to know she can speak Spanish in whatever place she wants and nothing happens and no one is going to stop her just because she speaks Spanish."

The conversation that Suda had with her daughter inspired her to reach out to the American Civil Liberties Union to see if anything could be done about her experience with Agent O'Neill. So far, they have tweeted their support.

Cover Image Credit:

Jose Moreno

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The Crimes And Misdemeanors Of A Sitting President

Whether you agree with Nancy Pelosi, regarding impeachment or not, the question each American should ask is: Can this nation survive any more division?


Whether you agree with Nancy Pelosi, regarding impeachment or not, the question each American should ask is; can this nation survive any more division? Is Nancy correct in her comment, "He's just not worth it?" Impeachment should not be used as a political tool to remove an unwanted government official out of office. Its purpose is to bring charges against a government official and once the official is impeached then the legislative body can impose judgment which could ultimately remove the official from office.

Moreover, in the past, this country has impeached two sitting presidents and neither ended with his removal. According to www.merriam-webster.com, the definition of impeaching is "(a) to charge with a crime or misdemeanor, specifically: to charge a public official before a competent tribunal with misconduct in office. (b) to remove from office especially for misconduct, and (c) to bring an accusation against."

So how many cases of impeachment has the United States experienced with sitting presidents? According to www.History.com, eight U.S. presidents have faced impeachment, but with very different results. John Tyler was the first president to face impeachment proceedings in 1843. Representative John Botts of Virginia filed claimed Tyler conduct of the U.S. Treasury although the House of Representatives voted Botts' claim down.

Andrew Johnson was the second sitting president to have impeachment proceedings filed against him. In 1868 President Johnson dismissed Secretary of War Edwin Stanton and according to Congress, the president violated the Tenure of Office Act. Even though Johnson was impeached the Senate would not confirm his removal from office and he finished his term.

With the exception of Grover Cleveland, the twentieth century gave way for many calls for impeachment beginning with Herbert Hoover, Harry Truman, Ronald Reagan, and ending with George H.W. Bush. None of these presidents were subjected to the process as the claims never had the votes to call for a hearing on the committees.

There were three articles of impeachment against Richard Nixon, however, he resigned in 1974 before any of the proceedings could take place. In 1998 Bill Clinton was impeached over allegations of perjury and obstruction of justice relating to the Monica Lewinsky case. In Clinton's case, the Senate acquitted, and he finished his term in office just like Andrew Johnson.

President Trump is under scrutiny for some of the very reason's other presidents have had impeachment proceedings. He has proven to most American's that he is a danger to our democracy. Trump has snubbed his nose at the foreign emolument clause, creating an open way for foreign powers to pressure our president to stray from his constitutional obligation to the United States. The firing of the FBI Director James Comey and fulling admitting on national television to Lester Holt that he did because of "this Russia thing." This is "obstruction of justice," and other presidents have been charged with this article of impeachment. However, Nixon resigned, and Clinton was acquitted.

So why is he not worth it? First the truth, he won the election. Unless there is proven evidence that he colluded with the Russians to rig the 2016 presidential election reversing this fact will drive this new faction of voters back to the polls to elect another under-qualified candidate. In addition, the Republican Party will use the impeachment as a platform in the upcoming election. Citing the Democrats stole the White House from them.

Second, is the nation ready for even one year of Mike Pence as president? His record as Governor of Indiana is the only evidence needed. He banned Syrian refugees, he reinstated mandatory minimum sentences and authored a bill to defund Planned Parenthood. He doesn't take to Twitter, has the political knowledge, and is waiting his turn to strike like an incurable virus.

Third and even more disturbing is the Republican Party and their efforts to gloss over his crimes and misdemeanors and cite the economy, and jobs. Many won't vote against Trump because of his base; cannot afford to have to explain their decisions to his base voters in 2020. Most fear they will have to go through a primary. Even though if they removed Trump and put Pence in his place they could have during their two-year reign and most American's civil liberties would be a thing of the past.

The voters gave their voice in 2018 and Congress is working, unlike the previous Congress. They have a lot of work to do and spinning their wheels debating the crimes and misdemeanors of the sitting president is counter-productive. History will repeat itself and he will be acquitted.

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