Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Biden administration plans could end border wall park where loved ones converse

Several news outlets in California reported that a famous part of the US-Mexico border that connects loved ones in the two countries could be closed because of plans from the Biden administration.

Friendship Park, part of the border wall, separates San Diego, California, and Tijuana, Mexico.

According to Insider, it has been a way for families and friends to connect in person for decades, and the Nixon administration established it in 1971 as a “federally designated binational meeting place.”

More than half a century later, the Biden administration plans to complete former President Trump’s border wall through the park, KFMB-TV reported.

The plan includes two 30-foot barriers leading through the park. Community activists said officials told them the construction would not include “pedestrian gate access” to the park.

It’s a move the park’s advocates, including John Feinstil of Friends of Friendship Park, are not happy about.

“This is not just any other stretch of the border, it is arguably the most historically and culturally significant place on the border,” Fanstill said.

“We are asking for an immediate and complete halt to construction until we are able to begin a meaningful process of community engagement.”

US Border Patrol agent Teke Michael told the San Diego Union-Tribune that the Border Patrol will have “more information” on gate placement in the near future.

US Customs and Border Protection also said it will “identify opportunities to provide access to the public once it is operationally safe to do so.”

The newspaper reported that officials confirmed they needed to replace the wall because “the existing structures are no longer sound”.

Fanstill, however, said he doesn’t buy it.

“These new 30-foot walls will fundamentally change the shape and visual impact of Friendship Park, and in our view, if they build these walls, they are desecrating this historic space,” Fanstill said .

Fanstill, in an interview with KPBS, referred to a promise made by now-president Joe Biden during his 2020 presidential campaign, when he said his administration would not build “another leg of the wall” on the border.

It has been more than two years since community members in California and Mexico were able to use the park.

Due to heavy rains in February 2020, US Customs and Border Protection blocked access to the park, and it was closed through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Members of the Friends of Friends said the agency did not contact their group on the new border wall design.

Fanstill called the election a “slap in the face to the bi-national community”.

World Nation News Desk
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