Workers began transplanting plants from the U.S. side of a binational garden inside Friendship Park where work is expected to continue to replace the primary border fence.
Crews were seen Monday removing about half the plants on site, placing them in pots and loading them into a pickup truck.
The U.S. Border Patrol did not answer questions about where plants were taken or otherwise comment after the plants were removed.
Daniel Watman, the garden’s coordinator and member of the advocacy group Friends of Friendship Park, live-streamed the uprooting. “It’s sad, it’s hard to watch,” he said after filming.
The binational garden was founded in 2007 as a place to make friends across the border wall and promote native flora, according to advocates. On the U.S. side, it sits in a federal zone guarded by the Border Patrol, while in Mexico it is open to the public.
Border Patrol announced in January plans to resume the replacement of both the primary and secondary fence near Friendship Park. Officials have said the replacement is needed because the old walls are deteriorating.
Work to replace about a half-mile of the secondary fence with a 30-foot high version appears to be nearing completion, and it is anticipated that work on the primary fence will start soon.
Since the project was announced, it was known that the plants would need to be removed. Border Patrol officials said in January that the agency “remains committed to restoring the Bi-national Garden located within Friendship Park following the completion of construction activities.
Friendship Park, located inside Border Field State Park, was founded more than 50 years ago by then-First Lady Pat Nixon as a symbol of friendship between the