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September 26, 2023 by JOE ORELLANA

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LRCW received an anonymous tip regarding an action at the southern border in San Diego. On the morning of September 21st, individuals blocked access to heavy equipment and building materials being used to build thirty-foot walls between the US and Mexico on Kumeyaay land.

Those involved arrived on site before dawn. They tethered themselves to one another with rope and surrounded the resource site. The site itself was demarcated by a chain-link fence. Shortly after the start of the blockade, a private security employee within the site closed the fences from inside. He was free to leave, and a protester explicitly communicated that later on.

When employees of Spencer Construction attempted to open the opposite side of the site by cutting through the fencing, individuals on the ground carried rope along the outside of the fence until they stood between the employees and the site. After this, workers had to hop the fence to retrieve scant materials, and enlist the aid of the lone private security operative to move material over the fence.

An excavator and a chain link fence border the frame in the foreground. In the middle distance, a Spencer employee in a white hard hat and green high visibility vest hops the fence. Beyond him, one can see the border wall.
A Spencer employee jumps the fence out of the resource site. Just behind him is a thirty-foot wall on the southern border.

Arizona-based Spencer Construction has built segments of the border wall at multiple California sites—at the behest of former president Donald Trump, and now with the tacit approval of president Joe Biden.

Border Patrol presence varied. At times, the site was flanked by two cruisers. At other times, it was flanked by four—and sometimes even more. At 9 AM, State Park Peace Officers were called down to assess the scene and confer with Border Patrol agents. Those rangers asked individuals on site to identify an organizer, and they did not reply. This was the only attempt at interaction made by law enforcement.

At 10:50 AM, Federal Protective Service officers parked on the trail used by protesters to enter the area. They had conferred with Border Patrol on a distant hilltop fifteen minutes earlier. They did not interact with protesters. But, a Customs and Border Protection helicopter buzzed the site. It flew overhead, low to the ground, several times. It took sharp turns over the site. No announcement was made by the pilot beforehand. Another helicopter went over the site just before noon.

Around noon, protesters started to pack up their belongings. I’m told a protester heard workers being dismissed for the day as a result of the action, and that this motivated the draw down. Workers were ferried out in a Spencer construction van, and one allegedly thanked the protesters. Another source with eyes on the construction site near the beach said that construction did not resume that day.

A white van with the Spencer Construction logo drives away from the border wall. The access gate is partially open.
Workers were sent away in vans like this one.

LCRW received a communique from an individual who partook in the action:

“On September 21, several individuals blockaded the construction of 30 ft border walls on Kumeyaay Land at Friendship Park. The blockade brought a near-complete halt to the day’s planned construction activities. One protester had this message for Joe Biden: Your walls kill. Your walls are grotesque monuments to American imperialism. Border Patrol uses your walls as open air prisons. Stop construction now. This action is taken in solidarity with ongoing efforts to resist imperialism and militarization everywhere: Block Cop City, Free Palestine, Stop the Wall, Build Friendship Park”

Over the past weeks, Border Patrol has used the space between the walls as an ad-hoc detention facility. Families, including small children, have been all but detained in that space. On September 15th, a woman died after falling from the border wall in San Diego.

Hundreds of migrants, some standing and some in tents, are held between two massive walls. One wall terminates just in front of the camera, as the point of view is angled through a temporarily opened gate. The walls extend into the distance. Numerous border patrol vehicles and an ambulance are visible in the distance.
Hundreds of migrants were held on the federal land between the border walls on September 13th. Groups of hundreds of migrants have been dropped there almost daily since the 18th.

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