Migrant families, struggling with US asylum application, divided at border

Migrant families, struggling with US asylum application, divided at border

The US Department of Homeland Security said it was “committed to family unity”.

Mexico City:

Dozens of migrant families are divided on Mexico’s northern border as they struggle to secure U.S. asylum appointments on a government application due to high demand and persistent hiccups. migration and advocates said.

Separation anxiety is putting additional pressure on families who often make perilous journeys across multiple countries to the US-Mexico border, and now no longer know when they will be reunited.

“It’s horrible, I don’t want this to happen to any mother,” said Jennifer Santiago, a Venezuelan immigrant who was admitted to Brownsville, Texas, 10 days ago, separate from her son, Derwin. know.

The 15-year-old decided to turn himself in at the border after his pregnant mother could only arrange a private appointment, Santiago said. He remains alone in custody in the United States.

The administration of US President Joe Biden made the app, called CBP One, direct to asylum seekers in mid-January, aimed at fulfilling asylum requests at a secure border. and more orderly.

The challenges facing families have strained some migrant advocates, who recall the separation of families under former Republican President Donald Trump, which the Biden administration of the Party Democrats heavily criticized.

The US Department of Homeland Security says it is “committed to family unity” and that more than half of the beneficiaries are families. A spokesperson added that recent app updates will simplify and speed up the process for families.

Appointments fill up in minutes each day.

The contest makes individual positions easier to find than multiple, encouraging parents to register themselves, hoping their spouses and children can join later.

“It was extremely difficult, almost impossible, for some of these families to get together,” said Karla Marisol Vargas, a senior attorney with the Texas Civil Rights Project. “These are just very difficult choices.”

The CBP One app, named after the acronym for Customs and Border Protection, provides the only way for border migrants to claim exceptions to the COVID policy called Title 42 without since 2020 has restricted access to asylum. Former migrants need advocacy organizations to register on their behalf.


About 22,000 migrants were granted a Title 42 exception and were allowed to enter the United States at land-based ports of entry in January, consistent with recent months, including nearly half of those who have use CBP One after the system is operational.

Title 42 is expected to be lifted in May, after which the Biden administration aims to take in at least 30,000 migrants a month, a Biden official told Reuters.

On a recent morning at a shelter in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez, migrants woke up in the middle of the night to upload apps, including selfies, that were prone to slow processing. .

As soon as appointments opened at 7 a.m., they nervously typed in their smartphones, scrambling to sign up for slots quickly.

“Too slow,” said a frustrated woman.

Along the border, the daily frustration of error messages and frozen screens on unclear Internet, outdated phones, and confusion surrounding the multi-step process are taking their toll.

For Venezuelan immigrant Angeldry Galeno, six weeks of failure to make an appointment to see her husband and two-year-old daughter led to the painful choice of leaving separately.

Her husband traveled alone to the Mexican border city of Nogales last week for an appointment, scheduled for March 3.

“He said, ‘take the chance… at least one will be on the other side’,” Galeno said in Ciudad Juarez, showing a selfie the three took together on their final day. . “It was a really tough moment.”

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from an aggregated feed.)

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