Friends of Friendship Park welcomed today the announcement by San Diego Border Patrol Chief Paul Beeson that until further notice routine public access WILL CONTINUE at Friendship Park, the historic meeting place overlooking the Pacific Ocean on the U.S.-Mexico border. Border Patrol staff will ensure that the public will be allowed to visit with family and friends at Friendship Park each Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 2 pm.
While celebrating the news, leaders from the community coalition called on the community to exercise continued vigilance, as Chief Beeson was unable to commit that the park would remain accessible to the public permanently, in light of continuing uncertainty surrounding federal funding of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
“We call on San Diego Border Patrol officials to seek every possible avenue to expand rather than reduce public access to Friendship Park, and to seek every opportunity to invest in good relations with our neighboring ally, Mexico,” said Dan Watman, a member of the Friends of Friendship Coalition.
For generations people from both nations have met at Friendship Park, the only place along the entire US/Mexico border that was established specifically to promote cross border relations. Members of families separated by immigration status often travel great distances to be reunited with their loved ones at this historic location.
Friendship Park is also a significant cultural and historical landmark for people of both nations, the monument standing at its center marking the spot where the first border marker was set in place at the end of the US-Mexico War.
Leaders from the Friends of Friendship Park community coalition have negotiated in good faith with San Diego Border Patrol officials during the past three years to keep the park open so that the public could visit with friends and relatives at the border fence. “The decision to think first of closing Friendship Park when threatened with budget cuts reflects a short-sighted view of what the border is all about,” said John Fanestil, another leader of the community coalition.
The Friends of Friendship Park is dedicated to the proposition that promoting friendship between Mexico and the United States enhances the security of people living in both nations.