Friendship Park at US-Mexico border closing due to budget cuts

Park set to close April 6

SAN DIEGO - The park at the U.S.-Mexico border known as Friendship Park will be closing due to budget cuts, the U.S. Border Patrol confirmed.

Deputy Chief Rodney Scott, of the Border Patrol's San Diego sector, issued this statement on Facebook regarding the closure:

"Due to the Federal budget sequestration, the San Diego Sector of the U.S. Border Patrol must take steps to ensure that it retains sufficient staffing to continue to meet its priority mission of providing border security. Budget reductions as a result of sequestration will result in mandatory furlough of USBP employees for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2013. Accordingly, Border Patrol resources must focus on mission critical enforcement duties only.

Therefore, effective April 6th, 2013 and until further notice all public access to the area commonly referred to as Friendship Park, which must be accommodated by USBP personnel, will be temporarily suspended. Access to Friendship Park will be restored once staffing levels support our ability to provide access again."

On April 7, from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m., the group Friends of Friendship Park will be holding a vigil in opposition of the decision to close the park. The event will happen from the entrance of Border Field State Park to the closed gate.

The park was dedicated in 1971 by then-first lady Pat Nixon.

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