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March 22, 2024



c: 202.913.0126

Washington D.C. — Today, Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke joined 29 of her colleagues in a letter to call on Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to address serious concerns regarding the Customs and Border Protection’s mobile application (CBP One), the primary mechanism for managing asylum interview requests.

“First and foremost, CBP’s decision to require asylum seekers to use the still-faulty CBP One app fundamentally undermines the accessibility of the asylum process. Because individuals seeking asylum at our southern border are required to pre-schedule an appointment through the app, the current process obstructs the right to seek asylum by forcing individuals to remain in Mexico while waiting for their asylum cases to be heard “CBP One itself is technologically complex and has significant language limitations, creating inherent barriers for applicants who are not familiar with mobile devices or who speak a language other than the three currently offered in the app,” wrote the lawmakers. “Difficulties with CBP One’s appointment lottery system has forced vulnerable individuals to wait in unsafe and impoverished Mexican border regions for an appointment for prolonged periods. For example, the DeConcini Port of Entry in Nogales, Arizona is the only port that accepts CBP One appointments in the 700 miles between Calexico, California, and El Paso, Texas, and it only accepts 100 appointments a day. This scarcity combined with desperation increases the likelihood that asylum seekers will rely on cartel-backed smugglers to enter the United States instead of applying through legal pathways. This limitation has resulted in prolonged waiting periods, sometimes extending up to six months, forcing families to wait in Mexico in areas rife with criminal activities, including kidnapping, extortion, robbery, and assaults. Requiring asylum seekers to wait for a rare CBP One appointment, available only in a limited number of ports of entry, inadvertently fuels gang violence as criminal groups exploit these vulnerable individuals for financial gain.”

The letter is also signed by U.S. Representatives Raúl M. Grijalva, Jesús “Chuy” García, Joaquin Castro, Nanette Diaz Barragán, Barbara Lee, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Juan Vargas, Adriano Espaillat, Nydia Velázquez, David Trone, Greg Casar, Sara Jacobs, Delia Ramirez, Janice Schakowsky, Grace Napolitano, Rashida Tlaib, Jaamal Bowman, James McGovern, Darren Soto, Adam Schiff, Tony Cárdenas, Sylvia Garcia, Cori Bush, Ilhan Omar, Nikema Williams, Judy Chu, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Grace Meng, and Linda Sánchez.

The letter is endorsed by the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International USA, Haitian Bridge Alliance, Kino Border Initiative, Respond Crisis Translation, Lawyers for Good Government, National Immigrant Justice Center, Network Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, Espacio Migrante A.C., The International Mayan League, The Quixote Center, Latino Policy Forum, and Justice in Motion.

The full letter is available here.