There’s been a lot of activity on the U.S. border lately, as a record number of people have been trying to enter the country. Many of these individuals are seeking asylum. They fear for their lives and they want the safety that would be provided by residing in the United States. This is a similar situation to coming to the U.S. as a refugee, although asylum is usually applied for at a port of entry or once someone has already entered the U.S.
A new app has been developed by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection division, called CBP One. The goal is to give migrants a way to create a profile and then set up an appointment as they seek asylum. Ideally, this would streamline the process and allow people to have their cases handled more efficiently. However, some reports are indicating that there are numerous issues with this app that mean the desired effect has not necessarily been realized.
Taking a picture
For example, the app requires people to submit a live photo. This can be difficult for some migrants, who have small children with them. One report claimed that it took one mother an hour just to take a photo and get the process started. The app would not accept most of the photographs that she took. This can be a very frustrating hurdle for those who are already having difficulty trying to seek safety.
Finding an appointment
Another major issue that has been cited is not necessarily the app’s fault. It is just that there are not very many appointment slots. By the time people can get their photos uploaded and navigate to the proper screen, they may discover that all appointments are full. So, while the app seems like it would be a helpful tool, it isn’t actually delivering any advantage for them because they still don’t have an appointment.
Additionally, it’s worth noting that not all those who are coming to the United States to seek asylum are as tech savvy as they need to be to use this platform. They may not have the right smartphone. They may not have Wi-Fi access even if they do have a phone. They may simply have never used an app like this before, and it could be operating in a foreign language. All of this makes it very difficult to set up appointments this way, even if the app is working properly and there are enough appointments to be had.
Seeking asylum is not easy and even steps designed to make the process easier do not always work as intended. Those who are trying to find a way into the United States and change their status must know about the legal options at their disposal, so seeking legal guidance proactively is usually the most effective way to achieve immigration goals.