A well-known portion of the US-Mexico border that connects loved ones in the two countries could be closed due to plans by the Biden administration, multiple California media outlets have reported.
The portion of the border wall, Parque de la Amistad, separates San Diego, California and Tijuana, Mexico.
It’s been a way for families and friends to connect in person for decades, and the Nixon administration established it as a “federally designated binational gathering place” in 1971, according to Insider.
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 running through the park. Community activists said they were told by officials that the construction would not include a “pedestrian access gate” to the park.
It’s a move that park advocates, including John Fanestil of Friends of Friendship Park, aren’t happy about.
“This is not just any other stretch of the border, it is possibly the most historically and culturally significant place on the border,” Fanestil said.
“We are calling for an immediate and complete halt to construction until a meaningful community engagement process can begin.”
US Border Patrol agent Tekae Michael told the San Diego Union-Tribune that the Border Patrol will have “more information” about the gates’ locations 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.”
Officials confirmed that they needed to replace the wall as “the current structures are no longer solid,” the newspaper reported.
Fanestil, however, said he does not buy it.
“These new 30-foot walls would radically alter the form and visual effect of Parque de la Amistad and, in our opinion, if they build these walls, they are desecrating this emblematic place,” said Fanestil.
Fanestil, in an interview with KPBS, referred to a promise now President Joe Biden made during his 2020 presidential campaign when he said his administration would not build “another foot of wall” on the border.
It has been more than two years since community members in California and Mexico have been able to use the park.
US Customs and Border Protection blocked access to the park due to heavy rains in February 2020, and it has been closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Friends of Friendship members said the agency did not contact their group about the new border wall design.
Fanestil called the election a “slap in the face of the binational community.”