For the first time, migrants crossed from Mexico into the United States on Wednesday using a government-sponsored app that critics say could increase fraudulent asylum claims.
Billed as a way to speed up the asylum process for those who made their way to America’s southern border, the CBP One mobile app allows those hoping to enter the U.S. via asylum to input their information into a pre-screening application to set up an appointment with a border official.
It is unclear how or if the information entered is verified before the individual is released into the U.S., though the app does not guarantee entry.
According to Reuters, the app is in high demand. One Florida-bound Venezuelan told the outlet that he was “excited” to see his family after entering El Paso, Texas, using the app.
Critics of the app process say it could be abused by individuals without legitimate asylum claims.
“Instead of trying to stop an unprecedented flow of migrants, they’re encouraging even more fraudulent asylum claims, while finding innovative ways to process them en masse,” R.J. Hauman, of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, told Breitbart News. “If they wanted to actually end the crisis, the solution is simple: enforce our laws, don’t create an app to make circumventing them even easier.”
Hauman added that the new use of the app “is one of the most jaw-dropping examples of the Biden administration’s eagerness to let everyone in under the veil of legitimacy.”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection launched the app in October 2020 during the Trump administration. Earlier this month, President Biden announced its rollout to “significantly reduce wait times and crowds at U.S. ports of entry and allow for safe, orderly, and humane processing.”
According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the app is currently only available for foreign nationals who have a humanitarian reason for entry due to the extension of Title 42, a COVID-related measure that allows migrants to be turned back based on health concerns. Individuals who apply through the app could still be rejected over Title 42.
“Noncitizens utilizing CBP One must attest that they believe they meet certain identified vulnerability criteria and be prepared to substantiate this claim upon presentation at a POE [point of entry]. The application provides a safe and orderly way for certain noncitizens to present at POEs, unlike attempting to cross U.S. borders without authorization,” the agency explained.
The rollout of the app comes as monthly encounters between Border Patrol and migrants at the border continue at almost record highs, as the border has seen a flood of crossings during the Biden administration.