SAN DIEGO — Immigration lawyers say requiring asylum-seekers to use an app to schedule appointments with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to get through ports of entry can put some at a disadvantage.
The Department of Homeland Security believes it will make the asylum processing more efficient and that it will also discourage individuals from congregating near the border, which they say creates unsafe conditions.
While the intent is a good one, some immigration attorneys told FOX 5 the new requirement might do more harm than good for the asylum-seeker.
The app is called CBPOne. It’s a portal for a variety of CBP services.
By using the app, migrants will be able to schedule a time to present themselves at a port of entry for inspection and processing, rather than arriving unannounced at a port of entry or attempting to cross between ports of entry.
Unless they’re exempt, asylum-seekers cannot get permission to come onto U.S. soil to request protection because of the Title 42 health order.
Immigration attorney Andrew Nietor, who represents refugees and asylum-seekers on both sides of the border, told FOX 5 he’s concerned that the requirement will put the most vulnerable migrants at a serious disadvantage and possibly even in danger.
“There certainly is a big problem along the border. Some people would call it a crisis but it’s almost a crisis of our own making,” said Nietor. “We have this Title 42 in place — which is a health statute that’s being abused as an immigration enforcement tool — that’s created this humanitarian crisis where there’s been this bottleneck of legitimate asylum-seekers coming to the border, but not even being able to make their case and present themselves and apply for asylum.”
Nietor continued: “They make that dangerous trek to get to the U.S. border and then they’re told, ‘sorry, you need to find a way to go purchase an iPhone then download an app and provide personal information and find a place to wait for a couple of weeks while we set the appointment.’ It’s just not realistic and it’s going to put the most vulnerable in an even more precarious position.”
Nietor also has some serious concerns with the program as it relates to security and privacy.
San Ysidro is among the eight ports of entry participating in the new CBP One program.