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The border crossing has been submerged, but officials are still preparing for larger waves

Known as pandemic-era shelter limits Title 42 Few of the hundreds of thousands of migrants piling up at Mexico’s border with the United States have been discussed.

Their eyes were – and are – instead fixed on a new US government mobile app that gives 1,000 people a day an appointment to cross the border and seek asylum while living in the US, far outstripping demand for available slots, the app has exercised frustration among many. A test of the Biden administration’s strategy to attach new legal pathways to entry with serious consequences for — and for those who don’t.

“You start to give up hope, but this is the only way,” said Teresa Muoz, 48, who fled her home in the Mexican state of Michoacán after a gang killed her husband and beat him. He has been trying for a month to access the app. Called CBPOnewhile living in a Tijuana shelter with her two children and 2-year-old grandson.

Manuel Sanchez, 40, told CBS News that he has been trying and failing to secure an immigration appointment at CBP. He said he and other Venezuelan immigrants could turn back if they didn’t get an appointment.

For those who have come to the United States, some are tired and mean. Victor Blanco, a 32-year-old Venezuelan, lost almost everything while swimming in a river in Colombia.

Blanco is now waiting at a bus station in Brownsville, Texas, to start a new life in the United States, but others remain in a crowded processing center.

“We’re holding about 5,000 people and my strength is about 4,600,” said Gloria Chavez, chief patrol agent for the Rio Grande Valley sector.

Asylum seekers hold their phones by the border wall

Asylum seekers hold their phones by the border wall as they beg volunteers to choose to charge their phones.

John Putman/Sopa Images/Lightrocket via Getty Images

US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the Border Patrol made 6,300 arrests on Friday – the first day since Title 42 expired – and 4,200 on Saturday. That’s down sharply 10,000-plus in three days As migrants rushed to enter last week before new policies to limit asylum take effect.

“It’s still early,” Mayorkas said Sunday on CNN’s ‘State of the Union.’ “We’re on day three, but we’ve been planning this transition for months. And we’re executing our plan. And we’ll continue to do so.”

despite Drop in recent days, authorities predict the number of arrests will rise to between 12,000 and 14,000 per day, Matthew Hudak, deputy border patrol chief, said in a court filing Friday. And authorities can’t confidently estimate how many will cross, Hudak said, adding that intelligence reports failed to quickly identify a “single surge” of 18,000 mostly Haitian migrants in Del Rio, Texas, in September 2021.

Hudak said more than 27,000 immigrants were detained at the border on one day last week, a number that could rise to 45,000 by the end of May if authorities cannot release immigrants without an order to appear in immigration court.

Pandemic-era border policy Title 42 expires

Migrants seeking asylum in the United States, who are stuck in a makeshift camp between the border wall between the United States and Mexico, gather near a U.S. Border Patrol agent on May 12, 2023 in San Diego, California.

Getty Images

The administration plans to ask an appeals court Monday for permission to release the immigrants without a court appearance order. Authorities say it takes between 90 minutes and two hours to process an adult for court — potentially choking Border Patrol holding facilities — and longer to process families. By contrast, it takes just 20 minutes to release someone with instructions to report to the immigration office within 60 days, a common practice from 2021 to ease border congestion.

The Justice Department has even raised the possibility of refusing to take people into custody unless the immigrants can be quickly released, calling it a “worst-case scenario.”

President Joe Biden, spending the weekend at his home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, said he hoped the number at the border would “continue to go down” but “we have a lot more work to do.”

“We need some more help from Congress in terms of funding and legislative changes,” Biden told reporters. He said the handling of the situation at the border was going “much better than you expected”.

The administration is creating new legal avenues in an effort to prevent illegal crossings, including parole, for the 30,000 Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans who apply online with financial sponsorship and arrive at an airport.

Hundreds of mostly Colombian migrants waited to be processed Saturday in sweltering heat near Jacumba, California, sleeping for days in straw tents east of San Diego and subsisting on limited supplies of Border Patrol cookies and water. Many have said they’ve crossed over illegally after trying the app without success or hearing stories of others’ frustrations.

Ana Cuna, 27, said she and other Colombians were paid $1,300 each to guide them across the border after arriving in Tijuana. He said he set foot on U.S. soil hours before Title 42 expired Thursday but, like others, was given a numbered wristband by the Border Patrol and, two days later, not processed.

Under Title 42, a public health rule, immigrants were denied asylum more than 2.8 million times because of the spread of COVID-19. When it expired, the administration instituted a policy to deny asylum to travelers to the United States through other countries, such as Mexico, with few exceptions.

“We want to come by law and be welcomed,” said Cuna, whose straw tent included Colombian women and families expected to arrive in Chicago, San Antonio, Philadelphia and Spartanburg, South Carolina.

Immigrants at the US-Mexico border after Title 42 ends

Immigrants try to cross but are no longer accepted due to new rules enforced by the US government. Ciudad Juarez, Mexico on May 13, 2023.

Christian Torres Chavez/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Releasing immigrants without a court order but with instructions to report to an immigration office within 60 days became widespread in 2021. That processing when immigrants report to the agency’s office creates additional delays directed at the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement office – with ICE offices in New York backed up to 2033 just to schedule an initial court appearance.

District Judge T. located in Pensacola, Florida. Kent Wetherell gave the order Practice in MarchWhich the administration has effectively shut down by then. It decided not to appeal the ruling but reactivated the policy last week, calling it an emergency response. The state of Florida protested and ordered the Weatherell administration to avoid early release for two weeks. He fixed the hearing for Friday.

Since CBPOne launched for asylum seekers on January 12, it has frustrated many with error messages, difficulty capturing photos and a frantic daily ritual of running thumbs at phone screens until slots run out within minutes.

In Tijuana, Muñoz looked into smuggling through the mountains east of San Diego but determined that it would cost too much. He’s still haunted by a week-long grueling trek through the Arizona desert in the mid-2000s. After saving up by working double shifts at a supermarket near Los Angeles, she returned to Mexico to raise her children.

Last week, the administration increased the number of slots from 740 to 1,000, rewarded the app, started giving priority to those who tried the longest and released slots gradually throughout the day instead of all at once, which created a frenzy. So far, Munoz said he remains unconvinced.


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