By Jill Holslin
San Diego, CA | Friendship Park, a small and unassuming spot near a beach in San Diego-Tijuana, is suddenly getting national and international media attention. This half-acre plaza overlooking the beautiful shores of the Pacific ocean at the southmost corner of the continental United States is now threatened with imminent destruction by the Department of Homeland Security fence corridor. The new fence corridor will reinforce existing “tactical infrastructure” for border security through the construction of a massive 20-foot wall constructed of concrete pylons, topped with metal mesh fencing. Along the 4.5 miles of this wall, a 40 foot wide road is being built to allow swift and easy access for border patrol units. All in all, the fence corridor and “no-man’s land” in between primary and secondary walls extends 150 feet from the current borderline.
At the center of Friendship Park stands a monument marking the first meeting of the US-Mexico Boundary Commission in 1848. For generations, residents of the United States have gathered around this monument to visit through the border fence with family and friends in Tijuana, Mexico. In 1971, former First Lady Patricia Nixon inaugurated the park, crossing into Mexico to shake hands with well-wishers and embrace children, reportedly stating, “I hope there won’t be a fence here too long.” It is this spirit of friendship and our shared love for this precious beach, park and coastline that have become the legacy of Nixon’s establishment of the park so many decades ago.
In late October, the New York Times, Washington Post, and The Christian Century all published articles about the threat to this historic site.
And news agencies from Mexico and Spanish-language newspapers on the border have been covering this story for months.