SAN DIEGO — The group, Friends of Friendship Park, has spoken out against the two-planned 30-foot border walls along the U.S.-Mexico border in Imperial Beach that they fear would eliminate Friendship Park.
The group hand-delivered letters to Border Patrol agents at the San Diego Field Office in Chula Vista. The letters were signed by more than 500 people against the planned construction of the border walls.
Wednesday is the last day to submit public comment about the border walls planned to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Agents.
CBP halted construction in August on the 0.6-mile stretch and announced they were opening up a public comment period. CBP has said new walls are needed because the current ones are a safety risk to Border Patrol agents, the community and migrants.
“We are calling on the Biden administration, the CBP, Department of Homeland Security to follow their own policy, to cancel plans for 30-foot walls, to end the wall expansion and instead repair and remedy what needs to be repaired and remedied to protect health and safety,” John Fanestil, with Friends of Friendship Park, said during a press briefing outside the Border Patrol office Wednesday, prior to hand-delivering the letters.
However, CBP has said the construction on these border walls are for safety concerns.
CBP said the primary and secondary barrier adjacent to Friendship Park has “deteriorated.” The agency said the primary barrier was not treated correctly to “withstand marine corrosion before it was installed…The secondary barrier was partially removed in preparation for the project prior to January 2021.”
CBP claims it has been temporarily repaired, but not “structurally sound.”
In the past, Border Patrol agents had opened the gate for a couple of hours on weekends, so people can go in, but that stopped during the pandemic. And now opponents of the border wall say they fear it will never happen again if this new wall is built.
More than 600 signatures were on the letters delivered, including signatures from local-elected leaders such as San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria.
“In my hand I hold the names of 269 faith leaders who have signed on to this leader that says do not build 30-foot walls,” said Seth Clark, the pastor at The Border Church.
A September update from CBP said that it would, “pause executing the project until mid-November to further engage with community stakeholders.”
After mid-November, it’s not clear if there could be revaluations on the project, if the project could be stopped or if it will proceed as planned.
Oct. 12 is the last day to comment on the project to CBP.