Border Patrol has yet to sign off on public access to popular California border park

Border Report Tour

SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — A group calling itself Friends of Friendship Park is asking U.S. Customs and Border Protection to sign off and allow public use of Friendship Park, which lies just north of the border between Tijuana and San Diego a short distance from the Pacific Ocean.

The group is also encouraging the Department of Homeland Security to invite and include public input in all decisions related to the border wall and “specifically about changes to Friendship Park.”

And it’s also pushing for CBP and DHS to cancel all contracts for border wall construction.

The Biden administration had placed a two-month moratorium on construction. That period of time expired recently. A final decision has not been made.

The park, which is part of Border Field State Park, is controlled by the State of California’s Parks Department.

It has stated the park could reopen in June.

The area is famous for being the place where the border wall pierces and stretches into the Pacific Ocean.

It’s also well known as a place where families can talk and touch hands with the border fence between them.

But this access has been controlled by the Border Patrol, and up until the pandemic began, it was only permissible on weekends between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

“Their hands are kind of tied, we meet with them, and they tell us they are doing what they can,” said Daniel Watman, member of Friends of Friendship Park.

Watman says the Border Patrol is non-committal as it waits to see if the border wall construction will resume.

“We’ll have to wait and see if the construction is going to happen, original plan is to build a 30-foot wall in the middle of the park, they are waiting to see what will happen,” said Watman.

The Border Patrol has said that once the state opens the area, it will decide whether to allow public access along the border barrier.

On Friday, it issued this statement:

“The U.S. Border Patrol has been and remains committed to working with Friends of Friendship Park (FoFP) regarding the Friendship Circle area adjacent to the Border Field State Park.  San Diego Sector (SDC) has maintained a collaborative relationship with FoFP for more than a decade and has consistently accommodated requests for garden access.  More recently, SDC has afforded volunteers the opportunity to tend to the garden despite the challenges USBP faces during the current global pandemic. SDC corresponds with FoFP organizers regularly to hear their concerns and whenever FoFP has requested a meeting, SDC has accommodated that request.

“Border wall construction in the area has been suspended as directed by recent executive order. Prior to the suspension, CBP solicited comments from community stakeholders regarding the planned construction in the area as part of the normal process. The area within Border Field State Park has evolved to keep our agents safe and increase border security while still maintaining the Friendship Circle.  Stakeholder engagement and feedback is an essential part of the new construction process, however to meet our security directives, not all comments and recommendations can be implemented.  CBP is committed to protecting America and the final plans for any project in the area will reflect that commitment.”

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