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CBP One Application in the Crosshairs: Asylum Strategy or Pathway for Indiscriminate Migration

The CBP One program, a mobile application that facilitates the scheduling of appointments to apply for asylum at the U.S. border, is at the center of a debate. The conservative group Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) has raised questions about its legality and efficacy, alleging that the application could be allowing entry into the United States of individuals who do not meet the established asylum requirements.

Launched in October 2020, CBP One is part of the federal government’s efforts to improve and strengthen legal entry procedures into the United States. In January of this year, the government launched a humanitarian reunification program for the four countries presenting the highest number of asylum applications at the border with Mexico: Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. To be admitted to the United States, applicants must have a sponsor and can only enter the country by air with a valid passport. Other foreigners, including those who do not have a sponsor or a visa, must use the CBP One app to seek a valid legal admission program, meet the requirements, and obtain authorization to present themselves at a port of entry at a specific date and time.

However, the CIS has questioned the use of the application, suggesting it is being exploited by those seeking a “legal, safe, and orderly path to the United States” without necessarily having a valid asylum case. According to the group, many immigrants entering the country through this application are not eligible for asylum. Instead, they argue that the majority seek the opportunity to live and work in the United States while they await the resolution of their asylum cases. However, lawyers consulted by Univision News emphasize that these people were admitted under the proper migration process and are awaiting the resolution of their asylum cases, so their stay cannot be considered illegal.

The CIS maintains that the current situation at the border incentivizes migrants to cross the first obstacle, which the DHS is trying to address. According to the group, the port of entry interview scheme through the CBP One application makes the release of foreigners under the Alternative Detention Program (ATD) even more likely than if they were to illegally enter the country.

Despite the concerns raised by the CIS, the Biden Administration stands by its stance that the current migration system is broken and needs to be fixed, highlighting the importance of ensuring due process for asylum seekers.