App-based asylum scheduling goes predictably wrong—02-11-23
Immigration news, in context
This is the 151st edition of BORDER/LINES, a weekly newsletter by Felipe De La Hoz and Gaby Del Valle designed to get you up to speed on the big developments in immigration policy. Reach out with feedback, suggestions, tips, and ideas at BorderLines.News@protonmail.ch.
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This week’s edition:
In The Big Picture, we look at the issues with the use of the CBP One app for scheduling asylum claims.
In Under the Radar, we examine a downtick in the number of irregular border crossings.
In Next Destination, we discuss the latest development in the ongoing Title 42 litigation.
The Big Picture
The news: Among the techno-solutionist trends that have overtaken much of government and society in the past couple of decades, there is one that frames making people essentially do more of the work to go through bureaucratic processes as an act of efficiency and empowerment. That’s come to the border now with the botched rollout of the CBP One app’s use for scheduling asylum appointments, with migrants expected to use the glitchy service to register for the ability to seek asylum.
Such an ability is, of course, protected absolutely by law, yet with the use of the app, which utilizes geolocation and facial recognition to give migrants dates to show up at specific ports of entry in order to avoid the already legally dicey restrictions imposed under the Title 42 order, the government is exerting more control over who gets access to humanitarian processes and when. It’s not the first time, with the more ad-hoc metering policy having similiarly restricted the daily flow of asylum seekers, but is now much more formalized.
Setting aside the fact that migrants need phones, internet, and the ability to speak either English or Spanish in order to be able to use the app, it reportedly constantly throws up errors or shows no available dates; when dates are available, the appointments can be very far away from wherever migrants happen to be. The government might work to correct these discrete issues, but it is unlikely to want to give back the additional power that this supposed case-management tool hands it over those seeking asylum.
Under the Radar
Border crossings between ports of entry dropped in January
Crossings between ports of entry dropped by nearly 40 percent in January after the Biden administration implemented a new parole system for nationals of Venezuela, Cuba, Haiti, and Nicaragua, CBS News reports. Under the new program, the U.S. will admit 30,000 nationals from those countries each month but can expel the same number of people to Mexico.
There were approximately 130,000 apprehensions between ports of entry at the U.S.-Mexico border in January, according to preliminary government data obtained by CBS News. Border Patrol reported 221,000 apprehensions in December. CBS News notes that while border crossings usually decrease in the winter, the drop between December 2022 and January 2023 is more pronounced than those in previous years.
DOJ asks Supreme Court to toss Title 42 case
After the Biden administration attempted to end Title 42 last year, Republican-led states sued to block the expulsion policy from being lifted. A Trump-appointed federal judge ruled that the Biden administration’s effort to end Title 42 was unlawful because it violated the Administrative Procedures Act and blocked the Department of Homeland Security from rescinding the public health order. But the administration recently announced that it would be ending the Covid-19 public health emergency declaration in mid-May. Since Title 42 is ostensibly a public health policy and not an immigration one, ending the emergency declaration would, the Justice Department has claimed, “render this case moot.”
The DOJ’s Supreme Court filing also notes that the administration “has also recently announced its intent to adopt new Title 8 policies to address the situation at the border once the Title 42 orders end.”