Friendship Park closed to make room for the triple fence


Dan Watman is one of many activists upset by the construction of the triple fence currently under construction along the San Diego/Tijuana border. Watman runs Border Meetup, a group that holds yoga, dance and other events at Friendship Park, a section of Border Field State Park in San Ysidro where families separated by the U.S.-Mexico border fence often go to meet up with one another.  The park was recently sealed off for construction, but Border Patrol and California State Park officials told Watman and others that the section of the park near what’s become known as “Friendship Monument”  could still be accessed through a pedestrian gate and walkway so families could continue to meet and even touch one another through the fence.

But at a meeting Tuesday, Jan. 6, (Sorry; I got the date wrong in the video and am working on fixing it) Watman says the activists in attendance were told by Border Patrol representatives that the access would no longer be allowed. Clay Phillips, the superintendent of Border Field State Park, was at the meeting and he says even he was surprised by the sudden change of heart.

“Previously,” said Phillips, “the plans included a pedestrian gate and walkway to the park and the monument. We had anticipated public access to the area.”

Jerry Conlin, a public affairs officer for the San Diego sector of the United States Border Patrol, said the decision was made because of security concerns.

“It’s been very difficult to monitor that area,” said Conlin. He said Border Patrol was having problems with people throwing things over the fence and passing across drugs.

Watman and others are busy protesting the decision. He says he hopes the change of administration will help to reverse the decision and reinstate access to Friendship Park, or even halt the construction of the triple fence altogether.

VIDEO TIP: Click play then pause and let the video load fully before you try to view it; otherwise, you’ll have issues. If you still have problems, try viewing it here. Also, I’m still working on checking on the dates in the text. It’s a rough cut, so bare with me here.  I have the date of the first fence being built in 1993, but Border Patrol is saying it was more like 1989.  Also, they said the material was from Vietnam-era landing pads.  Oh, and the secondary fence was built at different times in different places.  Does anybody out there have a link to a good resource in terms of the history of the border fence? I can’t seem to find anything with a good time-line!

About Kinsee Morlan

Arts and web editor at San Diego CityBeat. Interested in art and the Tijuana/San Diego border.
This entry was posted in Border beauty, Border issues, Border wait. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Friendship Park closed to make room for the triple fence

  1. Ben Chapman says:

    wow, really neat video.
    i’m a journalist based in nyc. graduated from ucsd in 2000. worked for pre-citybeat title SLAMM and San Deigo mag back when i was an undergrad.
    anyway, someone in Manhattan is enjoying your work.

  2. curtis says:

    very nice. send the link to mr bilbray and he might prosecute for trespass.

  3. Pingback: The border is everywhere « Across the border

  4. Ashley H. says:

    Wow, this is just so sad… I love reading your blog and I too am an american woman who spends a large amount of time in TJ. My boyfriend plays basketball for the LNBP’s team in TJ, Los Galgos, but we live in Chula Vista. The Border Patrol frustrates me and I wish there were more ways to fight back. Keep up the good work and keep loving TJ… 🙂

  5. This is very interesting and bizarre. I find the wall that leads to the sea perplexing and futile.

  6. David says:

    Ive been working on the border fence project for 6 months. It is to be completed next week. I have mixed emotions about the fence and how it has impacted so many lives. It has been a source of income for my family- do i think it will help— NO–Looking at the desperate faces of people crossing daily, of which I saw many… I know this.. the fence makes it more difficult, but will not stop them from coming. There has to be a better way. A way for families to be together.

  7. daniel says:

    I think that everyone should be able to visit that park and access the monument. I have seen a similar fence at

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