CBP: There’s a New App to Help Seek Asylum

January 12, 2023

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) confirmed on Thursday that migrants seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border now have access to a mobile app to schedule a time to approach a land port of entry.

The app, called CBP One, is intended to reduce border crossings, and is available in both English and Spanish. Migrants in Central and Northern Mexico who upload biographical information and a photo can request an appointment at one of eight ports in Texas, Arizona, and California. 

That is raising some concerns over privacy and access. Advocates are worried asylum seekers will be required to submit personal information without being guaranteed entry and that some may not have access to a cell phone or internet connection.

The Biden Administration, however, said the app is a more regulated, potentially quicker alternative to crossing the border following a record number of crossings last year. U.S. Border Patrol made 2.2 million arrests in fiscal year 2022, the most ever recorded.

Further, the app’s rollout follows an announcement last week by President Biden to expand the Title 42 health policy allowing for expulsions at the border to Cubans, Haitians and Nicaraguans who cross back to Mexico. At the same time, the Administration opened up legal pathways to those who have U.S. sponsors and enter by air.

Tijuana authorities this week said the city on that California border would increase internet connectivity in three locations and train officials to assist migrants with the use of the new app.

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