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CBP One app: why are migrants struggling to schedule their asylum appointments?

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- Migrants in Juarez have experienced problems trying to use the CBP One app. They say they live moments of frustration and desperation while they try to schedule their appointments to seek asylum.

ABC-7 spoke with some migrants at the Juarez camp who say they have tried to apply for months, but have been unable to schedule an appointment.

Every day just before 9 a.m., migrants set up in front of the National Institute of Migration to apply through the CBP One app. They even put up a white blanket hanging on a fence, just in case they reach the step of taking a picture of themselves.

Some migrants say they have passed the scheduling step and taken a picture, but after that step the app kicks them out. The migrants tell us an error message pops up and makes them go through the whole process again.

Despite the frustration, the migrants who spoke to ABC-7 say have not yet lost hope in the app, and they want to keep applying because they don't want to cross illegally. Migrants say they want the app to have quicker response times.

The app shows migrants different ports of entry where they can apply; not only in El Paso, but across the border. Migrants in Juarez, however, say most of them don't have the money to travel to other ports of entry.

Other migrants, meanwhile, say they are newcomers to Juarez, and they were able to schedule an appointment on their first attempt.

ABC-7 reached out to U.S. Customs and Border Protection to clarify the issues migrants have experienced with the app.

"CBP is in constant communication with stakeholders to include Non-Government Organizations (NGOs). CBP has conducted several formalized briefings of NGOs both pre- and post-implementation. CBP local leadership is in contact with stakeholders to address issues and concerns. CBP has also provided NGOs live training sessions regarding the use of the app, to assist in any support such entities may wish to provide to non-citizens utilizing the application, a spokesman with CBP said," a spokesperson told ABC-7.

Title 42 is scheduled to be lifted on May 11. More migrants are expected to either continue to apply through the CBP One app, or try to cross illegally to the U.S.

Watch my special report 'CBP One App: The real wall?' Tuesday, May 9 only on ABC-7 at 10.

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Heriberto Perez

Heriberto Perez Lara reports for ABC-7 on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.


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