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Community Longs For The Old Days At Border Field State Park

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Aired 2/1/11

Border Field State Park is the southwestern-most point of the U.S. Some community members want to see the popular cross-border visiting spot reopened.

For decades, family and friends on the both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border have met at Border Field State Park to talk face-to-face across the fence. The Imperial Beach setting, situated on the southwestern-most point of the U.S., was deserted on a recent morning.

Last year, the U.S. Border Patrol closed what's become known as 'Friendship Park,' citing security concerns.

John Fanestil is part of a coalition of community members who want to reopen the park.

"There are many families for whom Friendship Park is the only place in the world where they can see their loved ones in the flesh," said Fanestil.

Border Patrol Agent Jerry Conlin at Border Field State Park, the most southwestern most point of the U.S.
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Above: Border Patrol Agent Jerry Conlin at Border Field State Park, the most southwestern most point of the U.S.

The Border Patrol said it wants to work with the community but cannot compromise security. Agent Jerry Conlin explains rampant security breaches forced the park's closure.

"There are individuals that will ruin a good thing," said Conlin. "And that's what happens when smuggling organizations take advantage of a situation like this."

Ana, a visitor to the Mexican side of the historic monument that straddles the border park, said she longs for the old days.

"They have a right to close off their side, but it's really sad because people on both sides lose out," Ana said.

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