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Advocates protest a potential wall replacement at Friendship Park

Dozens of advocates protested outside Border Patrol headquarters in Chula Vista. They expressed their frustration against two 30-ft. wall replacements.

CHULA VISTA, Calif. — Without saying a single word, they made it clear to border patrol that the concerns advocates have expressed to them have been loudly ignored.

“They haven’t consulted with us in the last 18 months,” said Dan Watman, who is part of the non-profit Friends of Friendship Park.

The march comes almost a month after advocates learned that U.S. Homeland Security Secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas approved plans to replace the two existing walls at Friendship Park, with new ones that extend across the park with no pedestrian gate.

Border Patrol says this is a wall replacement since the primary and secondary barrier has been deteriorating and poses a threat to border patrol agents and immigrants. 

“They need to make sure that there is pedestrian access and also the wall that they manage to build doesn’t negate the purpose of the park,” said Advocate Chelsea Cook, who held signs with the phone numbers of congress legislators.

Advocates say it's part of the Trump administration's wall and argue it only militarizes the border and hurts immigrant families.

“Why don’t we build bridges to get together to be stronger and to be more peaceful,” said George Francisco Castillo, who also marched and read poetry on Friendship Park. 

Before COVID-19 families on both sides of the border, who were separated because of mixed status would meet, even with a mesh wall separating them.

Since 2009, the park has slowly shortened its length and border patrol agents limit visitors to 15 minutes.

“Yea, it's horrible and this is kind of the culmination of what has been happening over the last 10-years, the park has slowly closed down little by little. They closed it down in 2009 and then they opened it back up in 2011 in a very restricted way,” said Watman.

The march also comes a day before border patrols meeting on Wednesday, advocates of Friendship Park will be present and hope to ask officers that these plans be stopped until there is discussion with both sides.

CBS 8 reached out to border patrol, but they did not respond to our request for an interview.

WATCH RELATED: Biden administration to finish border wall closing Friendship Park, community fights back (July 2022)

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