SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — A local community coalition held a rally Tuesday morning. “Friends of Friendship Park” protested plans for a 30 foot border wall that will separate the park’s U.S. side from the Mexico side.
Currently, the park has a fence, but the new wall will completely block access.
Advocates say the lack of a pedestrian gate will remove public access from the park, which has served as a meeting place for families with members living on both sides of the border.
In August of 2022, CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus announced a pause on construction plans to engage in further conversation with the community. This pause was the result of a groundswell of support for Friendship Park that included wide media coverage in both the U.S. and Mexico and strong statements of support from faith leaders, allied organizations and elected officials at every level of government.
On January 17, 2023, CBP Officials announced their plans for "the replacement of deteriorated border barrier near Friendship Park." 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.
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.
WATCH: Construction of a new border wall is looming over Friendship Park