Every morning, a few spots become available on the new “CBP One” app for a few asylum seekers to approach a port of entry (official border crossing) at the U.S.-Mexico border. The spots fill up fast.
Priscilla Orta, an attorney working with Lawyers for Good Government, told reporter Valerie González at the Rio Grande Valley, Texas Monitor, “There are no slots. … They’re gone sometimes by 8:03 a.m. We have sometimes seen that the spots are gone by 8:01 a.m. And everyone knows it.”
It’s easier for a single person to get one of the scarce, coveted spots than it is for an entire family to get a few of them. González spoke to migrant parents who have been able to secure spots for themselves using the app, but not for their spouses or dependent children.
In the weeks after its mid-January rollout of the CBP One app for Title 42 asylum exemptions, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) was being lenient about parents wanting to bring family members to their single-person appointments. That leniency has stopped, González reports.
“What happened last week was that they decided to enforce it,” said Felicia Rangel-Samponaro of the Sidewalk School, a service provider that assists migrants across from south Texas.
For some families who witnessed families crossing intact one day and then learning of the new enforcement the next, the change was felt immediately. “So, people had to make decisions on that bridge,” Rangel-Samponaro said.
The way that CBP is enforcing CBP One appointments is causing families to separate. Parents are sending their minor children across the border separately, because the Biden administration isn’t using Title 42 to expel unaccompanied minors. The parents then have to hope somehow to be reunited with their children if CBP gives them entry into the United States and access to the U.S. asylum system.
The practice of sending kids without their parents is not uncommon, Orta said.
On Monday, Orta said about a dozen people crossed, but all of them had already sent their kids as unaccompanied minors without them by that point. They hoped they would be reunited, but “they didn’t understand that their children wouldn’t be waiting for them 24 hours,” Orta said.
A CBP representative told the Monitor that a May 2022 court order preserving Title 42 is preventing the agency from making more appointments available.
A CBP spokesperson who spoke to The Monitor to provide background information said CBP is limited in the number of appointments it can offer due to a court order from Louisiana.