CBP One, an app people must access to request an appointment that will allow them to claim asylum in the United States, presents flaws, and immigrants denounce them.
In one of Mexico’s largest shelters, at least 100 people are swiping their fingers across their phone screens in hopes of securing a date hours before dawn.
Every day at 6:00 a.m., new appointments are activated, however, immigrants are stuck with error messages thrown by the CBP One app, because it was saturated after it was introduced by the Joe Biden administration last January 12.
Among the failures reported by potential applicants is that many are unable to complete the login, while others manage to enter their information and choose a date, only to have the screen freeze upon final confirmation. Some receive a message telling them they must be near a US crossing, even though they are in Mexico’s largest border city.
At the Embajadores de Jesús shelter in Tijuana, Mexico, only two of the more than 1,000 migrants got appointments in the first two weeks, says director Gustavo Banda.
Erlen Rodriguez, an immigrant from Honduras looking for an opportunity for himself, his wife and two children, assures that they will keep trying “but it fails” for those seeking the long-awaited appointment. “There is no hope,” he added.
There is also the case of Mexican Marini Montiel, 32, who, although she managed to set the date and time for her two children, did not receive the confirmation code: “Now I’m back to zero,” said the woman who lived four months in the shelter.
complaints From CBP One
- Applications are only available in English and Spanish, languages not spoken by many immigrants. Haitian Bridge Alliance executive director Guerlain Joseph said the authorities did not take into account that Haiti’s national language is Haitian Creole. CBP estimates a release in this language in February.
- Some immigrants, especially those with darker skin, report that the app rejects requested photos, blocks, or slows down apps. CBP says it’s aware of some technical issues, especially when new dates become available, and that the issue also affects camera quality on users’ phones. As a security measure, the app directly requests a photo every time you log in.
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- The principal of the Sidewalk School, Felicia Rangel Sambonaro, stresses that the problem has affected Haitians most: “We put construction lights in their faces,” she says. “Those images still can’t get through…they can’t get through the image part.”
- Some advocates have expressed disappointment at the lack of apparent special consideration for LGBTQ applicants.
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