The two US citizens are now taking legal actions versus police who held them detained after speaking Spanish.
The two individuals are suing US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) after they were detained in Montana for speaking Spanish.
Identified as Ana Suda and Martha Hernandez were held by a CBP officer last May after he heard them speaking Spanish in a grocery store.
Agent Paul O’Neal questioned the US citizens for about 40 minutes and asked to see identification.
Both believed they were being detained, according to court documents.
ACLU file the cases on behalf of Ms Suda and Ms Hernandez.
“Speaking Spanish is not against the law,” says ACLU staff lawyer arguing this CBP action “reflects an out-of-control agency emboldened by a vehemently anti-immigrant administration.”
The lawsuit seeks to stop the CBP from detaining anyone without cause for speaking Spanish or for their accent, as well as compensatory and punitive damages.
Suda, who was born in Texas, recorded the original incident on her phone. Hernandez was born in California.
Agent O’Neal says in the footage that he was asking for their identification because they were “speaking Spanish, which is very unheard of up here”.
Once the incident went public the agency said it was “committed to treating everyone with professionalism, dignity and respect”.
As of now, there are 41 million people speak Spanish at home in the US.