At the Border: Deportations and CBP One App

By Bruce Radtke and Cindy Cole

   The US Government’s COVID-19 public health emergency order expired on May 11, 2023 – this included the Trump Title 42 order that expelled over 2.5 million migrants from the US-Mexico border.  The Biden Administration is now rolling out plans that will continue to restrict many migrants’ access to asylum, including a “transit ban”. Under the new rule, migrants who pass through countries on their way to the U.S. and do not first claim asylum there or take advantage of other lawful pathways will be deemed ineligible to claim asylum at the southern border. A recent policy requires migrants to use a cell phone app (CBP One App) and apply for an immigration appointment while waiting at the Mexican side of the border.

   These policies have lowered the number of migrants crossing the U.S. Mexico border, despite certain Republicans claiming that the “border is open”.  However, many migrants have trouble logging onto the CBD One app.  Some wait a month or more before being able to log on and navigate the application process. Where they must wait is often a dangerous environment.

   In addition, since Biden’s inauguration there has been the ultra-rapid adjudication of asylum cases under conditions of expedited removal.  There have been 17,963 ICE air flights.  In the last 12 months there have been 1,368 removal flights with an estimated average of 100 passengers per flight.  This means approximately 136,800 migrants returned/expelled/deported.

   The Los Angeles Times recently reported that the Biden Administration plans to expand a program called “Family Expedited Removal Management. This program places families who cross the border without authorization under a home curfew lasting from 11 pm to 5 am, and the head of household must wear a GPS monitor. “This program railroads asylum-seeking parents and children to deportation through a process so rushed and punishing that they will be unable to find lawyers and unable to effectively present their claims to asylum” said Heidi Altman from the National Immigrant Justice Center.  She asserts that the USA “has the capacity to provide a respectful welcome to people in need of protection.”

   As seen in immigration news, Florida and Texas governors have been sending migrants to northern cities in vast numbers, In New York City 58,000 asylum seekers have been flown and bussed to the city and there is now a crisis in shelter, food, etc.  Mayor Eric Adams has asked for federal assistance and for the Biden Administration to issue work permits to many of the migrants so that they can work while waiting for asylum appointments.  A Federal rule, however, prevents issuing work permits until migrants have been in the U.S. 180 days.  Since many of the cities new migrants are illegal, the Feds are concerned if they make exceptions and quickly issue work permits and green cards more migrants will attempt to cross the border.

   Unfortunately, there continue to be abuses by Border Control and some of the governors in Southern States.  In Texas, Greg Abbot has placed buoys with razor wire in the Rio Grande. In Arizona, migrants have been held outside in 110-degree temperatures in cages. Water placed in the desert has been destroyed causing deaths. We need comprehensive, humane Immigration reform.