Many of the thousands of migrants who crossed the Rio Grande into the small border city of Eagle Pass, Tex., over the past week have one thing in common: They got sick of waiting for an appointment on the smartphone app the government wants them to use. Some said the app offered appointments to ask for asylum several months in the future—longer than they were willing to wait after a long journey from countries such as Venezuela. Others said it unresponsive and unusable, reports the Wall Street Journal. "We all tried, but we couldn’t get an appointment,” said Kemp Granges, a 25-year-old Venezuelan national who illegally entered the U.S. at Eagle Pass, surrendered to border authorities and was released to a local shelter. The migrant surge overwhelming Eagle Pass and other communities is showing the limits of Biden administration border policies intended to help avoid such a scenario.
CBP One offers 40,000 appointments a month for people to enter the U.S. legally and request asylum, rather than entering illegally and risking deportation, which depends on various legal and logistical factors. Combined with faster processing of people arrested at the border and ways for residents of some countries to apply from abroad to enter legally and work in the U.S., the app is part of a new set of programs instituted in May when Title 42, a pandemic-era policy allowing for the rapid expulsion of asylum seekers. Tens of thousands of migrants have taken advantage of CBP One and other legal options, but the capacity of those programs has been outpaced by demand to come to the U.S. that rose substantially over the summer.