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Asylum seekers met with issues from new CBP One app

Migrants are experiencing problems with the app that is supposed to streamline the process to request asylum.

SAN DIEGO — The CBP One app is now the only way asylum seekers can request protection at United State Ports of Entry.

Customs and Border Protection launched the application in January with the intention to expedite the process for asylum seekers, but migrant activists said instead of easing the stress, families have been scrambling with all sorts of issues.

For thousands of migrants, getting an appointment with CBP to request asylum is their only chance to inch closer to the American dream.

“On paper it looks good, in practice it's a complete failure, so it frustrates migrants who can't use the app,” said Pedro Rios, a local migrant activist, who has been vocal about immigration policies. 

From low internet connectivity, error messages, and issues with facial recognition, to some not even having a working phone to start their process.

These are just some of the issues migrants are having to deal with while using the new app.

“What we are noticing is this application is not working the way that it was intended to and that means a lot of people are placed in greater harm because they are forced to wait in longer periods of time. Unsure of when they could submit their information,” said Rios.

Migrants must download the app then create an account and fill out a series of questions through the app.

They are also asked to snap a picture and enter how they are traveling, it will then create a confirmation number.

CBS 8 went to the San Ysidro Port of Entry and met a mother from Honduras who just stepped on U.S. soil for the first time.

She didn’t want to show her face, but she told CBS 8 that she, and her cousin have encountered countless glitches using the app for weeks.

The woman said they would create an account, go through several more steps and the app would then restart to step one, a seemingly endless cycle.

She was still processed and allowed to cross the border on Wednesday, but still no answers for the technical difficulties. 

CBS 8 reached out to CBP and asked them the reason behind these glitches and what plans they have to resolve the issues. 

In a statement a CBP spokesperson said,

CBP has identified several improvements to technical issues and will continue to enhance the mobile application as additional improvement opportunities arise. It is important for users to approve location services when prompted in the application or they will be unable to successfully schedule an appointment. CBP will continue to work on a resolution for this issue. 

CBP is aware of difficulties users are experiencing related to increased traffic, on the application, during the 0900 EST hour when appointments open each day; however, hardware issues from the end user may also contribute. 

Tens of thousands of people are recorded logging into the mobile application at 0900 daily which contributes to the delay. CBP continues to work closely with stakeholders to review issues brought to our attention, and swiftly work to resolve them. While some technical difficulties have been encountered, the application has successfully enabled non-citizens seeking an exception from Title 42, to schedule their arrival, thus ensuring a safe, humane, and orderly process at the ports of entry. 

The application has slowly processed some migrants, but activists are pushing for the federal government to find an alternative system for processing migrants. 

WATCH RELATED: Biden administration launches online app to seek asylum on Mexican border (Jan. 2023).

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