SAN DIEGO (Border Wall) — The area where Friendship Park sits, on a bluff above the Pacific Ocean and just south of Imperial Beach, California is one of the most iconic spots along the southern border, and in recent months it’s become one of the most controversial.
It’s due to a construction project that began back in February.
The Department of Homeland Security is in the process of putting up two 30-foot tall barriers replacing existing fencing that is much lower including the portion that runs into the ocean.
Opponents have said there is no need for the taller fencing as it will destroy the area’s aesthetics and natural beauty.
Just south of the border are Tijuana’s bullring and lighthouse, considered landmarks along the border.
Both structures will be harder to see from Friendship Park once the new structures are put in.
“It would completely devastate the visual landscape and the public’s experience of the park,” said Pedro Rios of the American Friends Service Committee and a staunch opponent of the project. “It would likely lead to more people that will fall from it and will cause various injuries and trauma to those Individuals.”
Rios is also a member of Friends of Friendship Park, a well-known gathering spot where families and friends have met for decades with the primary border fence between them.
When the pandemic began, this public access ended and has yet to be restored.
“We also know the material being used will make it much more difficult for families that will visit to have an experience like other families have had in the past, where they are able to see their loved ones from one side to the next side of the border.”
In the past, access to this spot has been supervised by Border Patrol agents.
The agency has said it plans to include a gate on the wall, now under construction, and will consider allowing members of the public through and all the way to the primary fence, which is also scheduled to be rebuilt.
Rios believes there is still time for a compromise.
“That compromise would be to not initiate the construction of the primary border wall,” he said. “They could certainly do repairs to areas they believe need to be repaired.”
DHS did not return Border Report’s request for comment about the project and whether it would be willing to contemplate a middle ground.
In the past, the Border Patrol has said the walls need to be replaced after years of corrosion and exposure to the elements.
It has said the existing barriers have become a danger “to the public, the migrants, and the agents who patrol the area.”
The project, both walls, are scheduled to be completed in less than four months.