SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — The new head of the Border Patrol in San Diego, Patricia McGurk-Daniel, says she is open to once again allowing public access to Friendship Park, which sits between two border barriers on a bluff above the Pacific Ocean.
It is well known as the place where people from both sides of the border can gather and talk with the first wall between them.
On Friday, McGurk-Daniel met with a small group of reporters to discuss her new role and the challenges facing her and fellow agents.
One of the issues that came up during the conversation was the future of Friendship Park.
The area has been closed for more than three years.
First, it was inaccessible due to the COVID-19 pandemic, now the Border Patrol and the Department of Homeland Security say the existing walls are crumbling and have become a hazard and are in danger of falling.
“That fence is dangerous, it’s been eroded. Once that’s replaced, and based on operational tempo, I look forward to working with Friendship Park to continue our relationship,” McGurk-Daniel said. “My main priority will always be the safety and security of both Border Patrol agents and the migrants that we encounter in that area.”
McGurk-Daniel stated that nothing definite will happen until the construction of the border wall barriers is done.
“I have worked with Friendship Park in the past and will continue to work with Friendship Park,” she said.
The new chief patrol agent emphasized the main factor in reopening the park will be having enough personnel to staff an access gate.
“We have only a certain level of manpower; if I have 100 migrants in the enforcement zone in another area, that takes priority,” she said.
Border Report reached out to Friends of Friendship Park about McGurk-Daniel’s plans for the park, but they did not return our messages.
Work on the two 30-foot barriers at Friendship Park is expected to be completed in a few months.