Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Language barrier an issue on the border
A major issue here at the Harris fire, the one closest to the border, has been a languange barrier.

Antonio Martinez told me when border patrol agents came to his trailer park to tell people about a mandatory evacuation on Sunday there was no one to speak Spanish.
Martinez jumped in a pick-up truck with a border patrol agent and went door to door telling people they needed to get out.

His trailer was spared but the fire burned about half the trailers where Antonio lives.

--By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Producer
Posted By CNN: 12:57 PM ET
  11 Comments
Hey this right here shows why everyone should know how to speak english even if it's only used as a second language.

Cynthia, Covington, Ga.
Posted By Cindy : 2:33 PM ET
With the burning of many places in CA that are so close to Mexico, what kind of help, if any, has been offered by the Mexican goverment to people fleeing the fires, or even to just Mexican Americans?
Posted By Judy : 3:19 PM ET
The great heroes in this disaster are the men and women fighting the fires, but everyday people show their spirit when they do little kindnesses that turn out to be a big help.
Posted By Conor J, Westlake Vlg, Oh. : 3:22 PM ET
This blog entry stood out among the others because it's a simple but important story; maybe the fire with all its misery can be a uniter when immigrants are working together with citizens to get through this horrible time.
Posted By philistine rogers, batimore md. : 3:24 PM ET
Im glad everybody is coming together. Just shows us that language and borders don't mean as much as basic manners such as kindness and helping your fellow man.
Posted By tammy s, durango, co. : 3:39 PM ET
I have seen the word united used throughout your producers' blog topics. I hope we can keep that feeling alive after the fires go out.
Posted By jessica t -- minneapolis : 3:48 PM ET
In answer to judy's comment, we had firefighters and equipment from both Tijuana and Tecate here last night fighting the fire until the fire jumped the border and they were recalled to race back down and fight it from the other side.

San Diego has very close ties to Tijuana. Business and individuals have volunteered assistance and many people in this area went to stay with friends or relatives there when they were evacuated instead of staying in shelters.

Despite a small (and annoyingly vocal) group of xenophobes here, many longtime San Diegans consider that Tijuana as part of "our" region -- more so than Los Angeles (and no, I'm not from Mexico or even Hispanic).
Posted By Anne, San Diego : 5:07 PM ET
I think it's good that Mexico and America share the firefighting duties; do the Mexican immigrants pay taxes into our city revenues upon entering America? With all the money in San Diego, I imagine there's residents who don't think this is an issue.
Posted By Steve -Peoria, IL : 7:16 PM ET
TO blogger Anne in SD if there's no more countries in the world, only regions, how come I can't get into Mexico without a passport ?
Posted By m j , phoenix az : 7:46 PM ET
The one thing good about a disaster is how it breaks down barriers we have erected between ourselves and others and everyone works as one to help each other out. Small things like what you reported on add up and make such a difference during a disaster. Hopefully, this feeling of "we're all in this together" will remain after the fire is out and the smoke clears.

Annie Kate
Birmingham, AL
Posted By Annie Kate : 9:41 PM ET
It's "our" shortcoming that no one spoke spanish?

If I go to France and there is a natural disaster, while I hope I could find someone who spoke English, I would not expect France to make sure there was someone English speaking with me at all times. "I" chose to go to France knowing I didn't speak the language.
Posted By Anonymous : 8:57 AM ET
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