SAN DIEGO — The federal government temporarily halted construction of 30-foot border walls at Friendship Park. Advocates met for the first time Monday since that announcement last week.
Customs and Border Protection said it's temporarily pausing construction to engage with the community and discuss the proposed plan.
"They would completely obliterate the experience of friendship park in Mexico and the U.S. side," said John Fanestil, with Friends of Friendship Park.
Advocates believe building 30-foot border walls across the park will ruin its purpose as a place for loved ones, separated by the border, to meet.
"We're a border family. I think we should share that. A lot of poor people, that's the only way they can communicate with families who are over here," said Terencio Jamatillo, a National City resident.
Friends of Friendship Park is using this pause to gain community support. The organization plans to hold a stakeholder summit. Learn more, here.
They want to encourage CBP to alter the construction project. They also want to convince the agency to open the park more than a minimum of two days a month which CBP has proposed.
"The fact they're not building the walls right now gives us some hope we will have some influence," said Dan Watman, with Friends of Friendship Park.
They're hopeful it will be enough to save the park and keep its purpose alive.
"Share cultures, share a peaceful existence, that's what we need in the world today," Jamatillo said.
WATCH RELATED: Construction of border barriers halted at Friendship Park in San Diego (August 2022)