Border Patrol Confirms Closure of ‘Door of Hope’
January 11, 2018
In the aftermath of the controversial incident that occurred at Friendship Park on Nov. 18, Border Patrol, in which an American citizen with prior drug smuggling offenses married a Mexican woman at the door of the Binational Friendship Park, San Diego Border Patrol authorities have stated they will no longer hold events in which the door is opened.
The tradition of opening the “Door of Hope”, as many have dubbed door which is on the border wall in this part of Friendship Park, goes back several years and has served as a venue to reunite families separated by U.S. immigration policy.
In a statement from Rodney S. Scott, newly-appointed Chief of the San Diego Border Patrol sector, he announced that the gate at Friendship Park was there exclusively for maintenance purposes.
“The U.S. Border Patrol will continue to meet its responsibility to protect our borders between the official ports of entry,” said Scott.
In his official statement, Chief Scott also mentioned that the gate is designed to allow safe, binational coordination between U.S. law enforcement personnel and their partners in Mexico, as part of the 320 ports of entry and accesses that facilitate travel to and from the United States.
San Diego advocacy organizations said that, despite the statements by Border Patrol, the incident involving the surprise wedding at Friendship Park was not the main reason behind the decision to not reopen the gate moving forward.
“I feel that the Chief of the Border Patrol, Rodney Scott, would not have continued to allow the gate to be opened even if the November 18th incident had not taken place. Just last year, he turned down my request to hold similar events in the El Centro sector while he was in charge there,” expressed Enrique Morones, founder of Border Angels and organizer of the ‘Door of Hope’ events.
Although the decision by Border Patrol seems to be final, Border Angels said they remain optimistic that the San Diego Chief might change his mind at future meetings, allowing the gate to open once again for the children and parents who are suffering due to the lack of immigration reform.
“These decisions, such as the one here in San Diego and the one in El Paso, Texas, are made locally by the [Sector] Chiefs.. Rodney has said that he will not allow it, but he also asked to continue talks, so we’ll see,” Morones said.