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Border Patrol allows replanting after bulldozing garden

Posted at 2:26 PM, Jan 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-25 17:29:20-05

(AP) — Reacting to an opening in a border wall, the Border Patrol gave activists no warning when it bulldozed the U.S. side of a cross-border garden that had tended to since 2007 on an iconic bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

After a public apology for “the unintentional destruction,” the agency on Saturday allowed activists in a highly restricted area to plant in Friendship Park, which was inaugurated by first lady Pat Nixon in 1971 as a symbol of bilateral bonds.

The garden's rebirth is the latest twist in a sometimes-friendly, sometimes-fraught relationship between the Border Patrol and activists.

The park's garden was destroyed last week after a garden trimming went too far.

"We take full responsibility, are investigating the event, & look forward to working with FoFP on the path forward,” Chief Border Patrol Agent Douglas Harrison said.

Earlier this month, Harrison said the park was being used to hide illegal activities happening at the border. He said originally, the garden was only supposed to be trimmed to address reported smuggling activities through the garden's fencing.

“Measures had to be taken to eliminate the vulnerability," Harrison said earlier. “The Imperial Beach Station took measures to eliminate that vulnerability."