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Biden administration to finish border wall closing Friendship Park, community fights back

Organizers are encouraging supporters to contact their elected officials, as well as to show up outside the park to demonstrate their support.

TIJUANA, Baja California — The community is fighting back, after the Biden administration announced it plans to complete part of President Trump's border wall here in San Diego. 

This plan would include two 30-foot-high barriers directly through Friendship Park, which families have used for years to meet up with loved ones on the other side of the border. 

Next month will mark the 51st anniversary of Friendship Park, but here on the U.S. side, instead of a celebration, organizers said that there will be a demonstration, to protest the government's plans. 

"This is not just any other stretch of border," said John Fanestil of the Friends of Friendship Park. "It is arguably the most historic and culturally significant location on the border," said Fanestil.

Bi-national park

More than half a century ago, Friendship Park was first created as part of Border Field State Park, evolving over the decades into a place where loved ones on either side of the border could meet up and even touch hands.

"We are asking for an immediate and complete halt to construction until a meaningful process of community engagement is able to be initiated," Fanestil said during a widely attended Zoom meeting on Monday night, led by Friends of Friendship Park, to organize opposition to this plan.

"Our long game is to create a truly bi-national park at this location," Fanestil added.

He encouraged supporters to contact their elected officials, as well as to show up outside the park.

"The park was designed as a bi-national park for friends and community members, and so we encourage people to be present at the park as a way of demonstrating their support," he told CBS 8.  

'Safety risk'

In a statement to CBS 8, U.S. Border Patrol officials said that the current walls and pedestrian gate need to be replaced because they are structurally unsound, "resulting in a safety risk to border patrol agents, community members, and migrants."

"Sorry... don't buy it!" Fanestil responded. 

He said that the idea that these walls will be "replaced," in his view, is not true. 

"These new 30-foot walls would radically alter the shape and visual effect of Friendship Park, and  in our view if they build these walls they are desecrating this landmark location."

For more information on the fight to save Friendship Park, click here. 

WATCH RELATED: Advocates say 30-foot border wall to be built at Friendship Park (July 2022).


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