Electronic asylum?

by Jose Enrique Perez

Last month, the Biden Administration in an attempt to control the flow of immigrants at the Southern Border decided to implement an asylum application appointment that can be done electronically.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announces that this is a “Scheduling System for Safe, Orderly and Humane Border Processing” under CBP OneTM App. The main feature is that the App Provides Option for Noncitizens to Request Appointment at Certain Land Ports of Entry.

President Biden also made the announcement public and explained the new functionality as part of a number of additional border enforcement measures the Administration is taking to expand pathways for legal immigration, limit illegal immigration, and increase security.

As of January 12, 2023, noncitizens located in Central or Northern Mexico who seek to travel to the United States may use the U.S. Customs and Border Protection CBP OneTM app to submit information in advance and schedule an appointment to present themselves at certain Southwest Border land ports of entry (also called POEs). At this time, due to court orders requiring DHS to continue implementing the CDC’s Title 42 public health order, only noncitizens who can be considered for a humanitarian exception may use CBP One. That is, anybody can apply, but will need an exception so that Title 42 is not applied.

Basically, CBP is authorized to except individuals on a case-by-case basis, based on the totality of circumstances, including considerations of humanitarian interests. Noncitizens utilizing CBP One must attest that they believe they meet certain identified vulnerability criteria and be prepared to substantiate this claim upon presentation at a Port of Entry. The application provides a safe and orderly way for certain noncitizens to present at Port of Entries, unlike attempting to cross U.S. borders without authorization. You must keep in mind that a scheduled appointment through CBP One is not a guarantee of exception from the CDC Title 42 Order.

The Biden Administration hopes that the use of CBP One is expected to reduce wait times and help ensure safe, orderly, and streamlined processing. It is open to noncitizens of any nationality, provided they are located in Central or Northern Mexico, and there is no cost to use the application.

Noncitizens who are seeking an exception to the CDC Title 42 Order will be able to use the app to submit certain biographic and biometric information to CBP and schedule an appointment up to 14 days in advance at eight Port of Entries:

Arizona: Nogales;

Texas: Brownsville, Eagle Pass, Hidalgo, Laredo, and El Paso; and

California: Calexico and San Ysidro.

It is expected that once the litigation for Title 42 is finished and any injunctions are lifted, individuals will be able to use the CBP One application for scheduling an appointment to present themselves for inspection and to initiate a protection claim instead of coming directly to a port of entry to wait. The Administration believes that this new feature will significantly reduce wait times and crowds at U.S. ports of entry and allow for safe, orderly, and humane processing.

How it works? Through a series of questions, CBP One will guide users to provide a live facial photograph and submit advance information that an undocumented noncitizen would normally provide during their inspection at a port of entry. Additionally, users must attest that when scheduling an appointment, that they, or a spouse or child accompanying them, meet specific vulnerability criteria for which they seek a humanitarian exception. Following the immigrant’s arrival at a designated land port of entry for their scheduled appointment, a CBP officer will determine the appropriate processing disposition. These determinations will not be made prior to the in-person inspection, and the use of CBP One does not guarantee that an individual will be processed on a given date or time. Individuals can directly submit their information through this app themselves and do not require facilitation by a non-governmental organization.

CBP One is available now and is available at no cost in the Apple App Store or Google Play, as well as at www.cbpone.cbp.dhs.gov. The app is currently available in English and Spanish.

Photos by Cottonbro Studio and Teona Swift from www.pexels.com

You should remember that this article is not intended to provide you with legal advice; it is intended only to provide guidance or information about immigration issues. Furthermore, the article is not intended to explain or identify all potential issues that may arise in connection with this form. Each case is fact-specific and therefore similar cases may have different outcomes.

I represent individuals involved in many areas. If you have any questions or concerns about a case or potential case, you can call me at (315) 422-5673, send me a fax at (315) 466-5673, or e-mail me at joseperez@joseperezyourlawyer.com. The Law Office of Jose Perez is located at 659 West Onondaga Street, Upper Level, Syracuse, New York 13204. Now with offices in Buffalo and Rochester as well!!! Please look for my next article in the March edition and stay safe, get vaccinated or boosted and stay away from the Virus. In addition to our current practice of Personal Injuries, Work Accidents, Social Security and Immigration, we now also practice Criminal, Traffic, Family, DWI and Divorce.

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