The barrier that divides: One city, dos lenguas

EL PASO – Blue-eyed, brunette, and light-complexioned Michael Alden has called El Paso his home for nearly all his life. Alden, 24, was born and raised in El Paso, graduated from Franklin High in 2007 and attended UTEP before leaving to live in California. Although El Paso is recognized as a bilingual and bicultural community, Alden does not speak fluent Spanish, the language that many of us hear on a daily basis. While he is not Hispanic, he has on more than one occasion been in a situation where Spanish speakers assumed he spoke Spanish. “It is difficult sometimes,” Alden said.

Members of the UTEP community greet UTEP Police officers to thank them for their services as custodials of the community's security. (Jesus Sanchez/

The borderland changed forever after 9/11

EL PASO— The tragic attack on America  that happened thousands of miles away 10 years ago rippled through the border region, tightening up security at the checkpoints that divide Ciudad Juárez, México from El Paso, Texas. Students, professors, and faculty at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) gathered at a ceremony remembering and reflecting on the event on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. UTEP student Karina Lopez, who crosses the border often said that ever since that awful day the border checkpoints have been a hassle. “Traveling across the border became irrationally long. Security became so high and people became paranoid about crossing the border, when before it only took 15 minutes, now it takes up to three hours.”

Lopez says that in a sense, El Paso has changed since the 9/11 attacks.