TIJUANA.—The asylum limit imposed by the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic and known as Title 42 is rarely a topic of conversation among many of the thousands of migrants crowding the border with Mexico Was.
His eye was – and still is – on a new application for mobile devices from the US federal government that grants thousands of appointments a day to cross the border and request asylum, as well as temporary residency in the United States. Receives authorization to reside formally. , With demand far outstripping available places, the app has caused frustration among many migrants, and represents a test of the Joe Biden administration’s strategy of developing new legal pathways into the country to deter those crossing illegally. come with dire consequences.
“You start to despair, but it’s the only way,” said Teresa Muñoz, 48, who left her home in Mexico’s Michoacán state after organized crime killed her husband. She has been trying to make appointments through an app called CBPOne for a month while living in a Tijuana shelter with her two children and 2-year-old grandson.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas reported that the Border Patrol made 6,300 arrests on Friday — the first day since Title 42 expired — and another 4,200 on Saturday. The number is down by more than 10,000 on three days last week as migrants arrived in the United States before new measures to restrict asylum took effect.
“It’s still very early,” Mayorkas said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “We are on day three, but we have spent months and months planning this transformation. And we are executing our plan. And we will continue to do so.”
Matthew Hudak, the deputy chief of the Border Patrol, said during a court filing that despite a decline in recent days, officials estimate arrests at 12,000 to 14,000 per day. Hudak said officials could not give a reliable estimate of the number of people who arrived in Del Rio, Texas, in September 2021 without identifying a “unique spike” of 18,000 mostly Haitian immigrants.
There were more than 27,000 migrants in federal custody one day last week, a number that could exceed 45,000 by the end of May if officials cannot release migrants with warrants to appear in immigration court, Hudak declared.
The government plans to file an appeal in court on Monday seeking permission to release the migrants without summons to appear. Officials say it takes 90 minutes to two hours for court to process a single adult — which can overwhelm Border Patrol detention facilities — and even longer to process families. Instead, it takes just 20 minutes to release someone with instructions to report to the immigration office within 60 days, a common practice through 2021 to ease border congestion.
The Justice Department has also raised the possibility of refusing to detain people if it cannot quickly release the migrants, calling it a “worst-case scenario”.
President Joe Biden, who spent the weekend at his home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, said he expected the numbers at the border to “keep falling,” but acknowledged that “we have more to do.”
“We also need some more help from Congress in terms of funding and legislative changes,” Biden told reporters. However, he acknowledged that the handling of the situation at the border was going “much better than you all expected”.
The government is promoting new legal avenues in an effort to stop illegal crossings, including 30,000 conditional humanitarian permits a month for Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans who apply online, have a financial sponsor and by air come from
After sleeping under thatched roofs in San Diego for several days and surviving on a limited supply of firecrackers and water from Border Patrol, hundreds of migrants, mostly Colombian, wait for processing in the sweltering heat Saturday near Jacumba, California Were. Many of them said they crossed illegally after trying unsuccessfully to use the app or hearing dismal stories from others.
Ana Kuna, 27, said she and other Colombians paid $1,300 each to cross the border after arriving in Tijuana. She said she set foot on US soil hours before Title 42 expired on Thursday, but like others, Border Patrol gave her a numbered bracelet and two days later it still hasn’t been processed.
Under the Title 42 public health rule, immigrants were denied asylum more than 2.8 million times on grounds of preventing the spread of Covid-19. After the measure expired, the federal government implemented a policy of denying asylum to people passing through another country, such as Mexico, on their way to the United States, with some exceptions.
“We want to enter under the law, welcome,” said Cuna, who shared a roof with Colombian women and families hoping to reach Chicago, San Antonio, Philadelphia and Spartanburg, South Carolina.
Releasing migrants without an order to appear in court, but with instructions to report to an immigration office within a period not exceeding 60 days, became a common practice in 2021. Leaving processing tasks in the hands of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) offices caused additional delays. For example, ICE offices in New York have a backlog until 2033 just for scheduling initial court appearances.
Federal Judge T. Kent Wetherell ordered an end to the practice in Pensacola, Florida, in March, which the federal government had already stopped using in any way. The Biden administration decided not to appeal the ruling, but reintroduced the policy last week, saying it was an emergency response. The state of Florida protested the practice, and Wetherell ordered the government to halt early releases for two weeks. He has fixed Friday as the day of hearing.
Since CBPOne went live on January 12, the app has infuriated many migrants with its error messages, difficulty in capturing photos, and the hectic daily ritual of flicking thumbs at the phone screen.
In Tijuana, Muñoz investigated the possibility of smuggling with a smuggler through the mountains east of San Diego, but determined it would be too costly. He still has fond memories of a grueling week spent hiking through the Arizona desert in the mid-2000s. After saving money by working double shifts at a supermarket near Los Angeles, he returned to Mexico to raise his children.
Last week, the government increased the number of appointments available on the app from 740 to 1,000, began prioritizing those who have been trying the longest, and gradually made all locations available throughout the day at once. Got it done, which created difficulties. So far, Munoz says he’s not convinced.