Catching up on what was said at a House Homeland hearing last week about the CBP One app, which Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is using to allow 1,450 asylum seekers per day inside Mexico use to make appointments at U.S. land border ports of entry.

An official from CBP’s Office of Field Operations told the Committee that:

  • Asylum seekers’ average wait inside Mexico for a CBP One appointment is “2 1/2 months right now.”
  • CBP has no plans to increase the number of appointments.
With respect to the wait times for individuals in Mexico, it’s averaging about two and a half months right now.
We do have to take into consideration the operations at our ports of entry.
We are not there just simply encountering inadmissible individuals who are attempting to enter the United States.
We have the facilitation of lawful travel and trade.
We also have to work outbound operations to interdict weapons and currency. We have to make sure that we’re intercepting narcotics, specifically fentanyl.
So to ensure that we are not walking away from any of the missions, stream- lining this process, ensuring that we can advance information to officers and automate it to the extent possible, but not also walk away from those other critical missions.
We’re not looking to expand the number of appointments.

There is clearly a need for more appointments, as the number of asylum seekers crossing illegally to turn themselves in to Border Patrol is still a multiple of those who manage to get appointments at ports of entry using the app. And in some parts of the border, investigators from the University of Texas Strauss Center have documented, the wait is now as much as six months.

Once asylum seekers arrive at the port of entry, they cannot leave the physical line or they risk losing their turn. The individuals crossing have been waiting for six months.
Civil society organizations in the city report that some migrants are waiting for up to six months before they receive a CBP One appointment.15 This long wait time has caused stress and uncertainty among the migrant population, and people periodically cross the Rio Grande instead of waiting. On the U.S. riverbank, the Texas National Guard has placed more than ten rows of concertina wire. Migrants who cross the river in this zone become stuck between the river and the concertina wire.