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US halts plans for a border wall at Friendship Park in San Diego

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  • The US suspended plans to build a double border wall in San Diego.
  • Plans to build the wall were temporarily suspended.
  • The wall would be built next to Friendship Park, which symbolizes the good relationship between the US and Mexico.

Joe Biden’s administration agreed Thursday to temporarily suspend plans to erect a double border wall that critics say would, for all practical purposes, destroy a 51-year-old seaside park that symbolizes friendship between the United States and Mexico.

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Chris Magnus said he wanted to hear community concerns before choosing a wall design for Friendship Park, which was opened by first lady Patty Nixon in 1971.

US suspends border wall plans at Friendship Park

border wall with mexico

Photo: AP

For decades, visitors to the park could easily traverse between San Diego and the Mexican city of Tijuana, but access from the United States has gradually declined over the past 15 years, and has been completely suspended for more than two years, reported The Associated Press.

Magnus, a former Tucson, Arizona, police chief who took up his current job in December, ordered the temporary suspension a week after members of the Amigos del Parque de la Amistad activist coalition met with Border Patrol officials to request a 120-day pause in construction, which was scheduled to begin soon. Filed Under: They stop construction of the wall on the border with Mexico

What does the double border wall mean?

border wall

Photo: Getty

“We have heard concerns about the project as it is currently planned, and it is important to me to be responsive to the local community on this matter,” said Magnus. “I look forward to continuing conversations with the community regarding this project during the hiatus.”

Magnus said the public would have access to the park at least two days a month, but did not elaborate. The wall’s design has not been released, but Amigos del Parque de la Amistad said Border Patrol officials told the group last week that there would be two 30-foot (9.1-meter) high steel bollards with little space between them, similar to the hundreds of kilometers of wall that were erected during the Trump administration. Filed Under: They stop construction of the wall on the border with Mexico

Construction of a bigger barrier draws criticism

border

Photo: Getty

Currently a double wall in the Parque de la Amistad is lower in height or easier to see through. The project would significantly affect views from Tijuana, Father John Fanestil of Friendship Park said at a news conference last week.

“We view the current proposal as a nail in the coffin of Friendship Park,” he said. On Thursday, Fanestil praised the pause in construction, calling it «a step in the right direction,» but Amigos del Parque de la Amistad said opening the park twice a month — the minimum CBP promised — would be inadequate for a binational garden of native plants, cross-border religious services and other community events. Filed Under: They stop construction of the wall on the border with Mexico

What about Trump’s wall?

biden takes action

Photo: Getty

The National Border Patrol Council, a union that represents agents, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Biden suspended construction of border walls, one of Trump’s top domestic priorities, immediately after taking office, but has allowed work in very limited circumstances.

Last week, the administration said it would fill four gaps in an unfinished stretch of Trump-era Yuma, Arizona, which has become one of the busiest corridors of illegal crossings. Filed Under: They stop construction of the wall on the border with Mexico

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