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Biden Administrations Utilizes Mobile App for Asylum Seekers

Posted by Hugo R. Valverde, Managing Attorney, and Anna D. Colby, Attorney Social Media Marketing Manager | Jul 19, 2023 | 0 Comments

Photo by Emmanuel Ikwuegbu on Unsplash

It's been called “the main gateway to the American asylum system.”

The Biden Administration is now utilizing a mobile app, called CBP One, for asylum seekers at the Mexican border to schedule appointments to present themselves at U.S. ports of entry. This gives them an opportunity to be able to enter the United States to request asylum. 

Under U.S. law it is legal to seek asylum at a port of entry, and the Biden Administration in May established the Circumvention of Legal Pathways Final Rule, essentially preventing people from applying for asylum unless they entered the U.S. legally, presented themselves at a port of entry, or could demonstrate ‘exceptionally compelling circumstances' (unaccompanied children are exempted from the rule).

The app is being used a lot - in May of this year nearly 30,000 appointments were made on the app, and in June the number of available daily appointments jumped up to 1,250. The CBP One app is for people of any nationality who apply in central and northern Mexico and enter by land, but the demand has been far greater than the 1,250 appointments available. Many asylum seekers have reported difficulties scheduling appointments on the app, with some waiting up to six weeks just to schedule the free appointment. 

The appointments are available at the ports of entry along the Southwest border, made at the following locations:

  • Arizona: Nogales
  • Texas: Brownsville, Eagle Pass, Hidalgo, and El Paso
  • California: Calexico and San Ysidro

If all goes well at the appointment, the asylum seeker is generally released by a U.S. official and provided with an immigration court hearing in their respective destination.

The number of asylum seekers at the southern border surged in early May when Title 42 ended, and the Biden Administration adopted an ‘all hands on desk' system, utilizing USCIS asylum officers from all over the country to interview those seeking asylum at the border. Although border entries have slowed down in the last month and a half, USCIS asylum officers are still primarily being remotely scheduled for border interviews, rather than at their respective asylum offices, slowing down the processing times for asylum seekers within the U.S. border waiting for an interview. 

If you have questions about applying for asylum or another type of immigration petition please reach out to us at (757) 422-8472, or send us a message on our website. You can also schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys by clicking on this link.

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