Border

Border Patrol Chief Apologizes for ‘Unintentional Destruction’ of Friendship Park Garden

Friendship Park

The U.S. Border Patrol has apologized for the "unintentional destruction" of a garden in San Diego's South Bay that was once part of a reunification park for families living on opposite sides of the U.S.-Mexico Border.

The garden, which housed native plants on both sides of the border, was created at Border Field State Park as a way to foster friendships between the two countries, said Watman with Border Encuentro, the group that started the project in 2007.

"I met with [Friends of Friendship Park] today & apologized for the unintentional destruction of the garden. The original intent was to have the garden trimmed," Chief Patrol Agent Douglas E. Harrison posted Wednesday on Twitter. "We take full responsibility, are investigating the event, and look forward to working with FoFP on the path forward."

Photos sent to NBC 7 by Daniel Watman, with Border Encuentro, showed a bulldozer plowing the garden.

Agent Harrison confirmed the garden was torn down.

"Traffickers cut the legacy border mesh and were using the binational garden to cover illegal activities. I know they had to take measures to eliminate the vulnerability. I contacted Friends of Friendship Park and will meet with them to discuss the next steps," Harrison initially said.

Harrison said the Border Patrol in San Diego is committed to dialogue with members of Friends of the Friendship Park about the future of the binational garden.

Friendship Park allowed families to see each other through a fortified fence while still remaining firmly in their countries.

In the past, CBP has conducted an event called "Opening the Door for Hope," which allowed some families to reunite for three minutes when they opened the gate separating the U.S. Mexico Border. The program was shut down in 2018.

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