Border Patrol mobile app for migrants seeking entry into US controversial on both sides of immigration debate

Amnesty International says the CBP One app violates human rights law, while Republicans have made accusations of its 'shocking abuse'

A government mobile app for migrants seeking asylum at the southern border has become controversial on both sides of the immigration debate. 

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) says on its website the CBP One app to schedule appointments at points of entry into the U.S. has "increased CBP’s capacity to process migrants more efficiently and orderly while cutting out unscrupulous smugglers who endanger and profit from vulnerable migrants." 

Amnesty International, however, said in a report published this week that the mandatory use of the app for asylum seekers is a "clear violation of international human rights and refugee law."

The human rights organization says the app creates "layers of complexity and obstacles to an already challenging process." 


Migrants near El Paso

Migrants at the U.S. border in El Paso, Texas.  ( John Moore/Getty Images)

Ana Piquer, Americas director at Amnesty International, said in a statement: "The use of the CBP One application conditions entry and access to asylum on appearing at a port of entry with a prior appointment, which is not feasible for some people. While technological innovations could potentially provide for safe transit and more orderly border processes, [programs] like CBP One cannot condition and limit the manner to seek international protection in the United States."

The Biden administration began to use the CBP One app and expanded its use for asylum seekers to make required scheduled appointments at the border as illegal crossings exploded, and as they prepared to end Title 42 a year ago, according to the Los Angeles Times.

A migrant uses the CBP One application in Tijuana, Mexico. (Sandy Huffaker/Bloomberg via Getty Images)


The app had actually been conceived near the end of the Trump administration as a way to expedite border crossings for people with the legal right to enter the country. 

But the app is equally unpopular with conservatives, who say it encourages migrants to seek asylum. 

Last fall, the House Committee on Homeland Security wrote of the "shocking abuse" of the app, saying that 95.8% of all "inadmissible aliens who scheduled appointments through the app" between January and September last year were ultimately given a "notice to appear" and let into the country. 

Marjorie Taylor Greene holding a phone with the app on it

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., questions witnesses about the CBP One app during a hearing of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border Security and Enforcement last June.  (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

"[Homeland Security] Secretary [Alejandro] Mayorkas has utterly abused the CBP One app in his quest for open borders," committee Chairman Mark Green, R-Tenn., said in a statement. "These numbers are proof that Mayorkas’ operation is a smokescreen for the mass release of individuals into this country who would otherwise have zero claim to be admitted. 

"At a time when global tensions are rising, and our enemies are growing bolder, releasing tens of thousands of these people into our communities — especially when they have not received adequate, if any, vetting — is irresponsible. It shouldn’t take a subpoena threat from Congress to get these answers, but we are going to keep fighting for the truth.

The government argues the app allows border agents to focus on other border security issues and that it discourages crossing illegally. 

"I can highlight a number of instances over the last 10 years, where migrants showing up at our ports of entry without any advance information quickly overwhelm our teams," Diane Sabatino, acting executive assistant commissioner of CBP’s office of field operations told Congress in March, according to the Los Angeles Times. 

The CBP and the White House did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.

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