Many Florida residents are likely aware that resources at the southern border are being stretched to breaking point by an influx of asylum seekers from the Caribbean and Central and South America. The Biden administration announced on Jan. 12 that a new online system had been put into place to speed up processing times and ease the congestion, but early reports suggest that the CBPOne mobile application could be making matters even worse.
Freezing screens and error messages
The data implies that the system was rushed into service before all of its glitches and bugs were identified and addressed. Immigrants who tried to use the online system were met with freezing screens and error messages when they tried to use it to schedule appointments with immigration officials. According to media reports, only two of the 1,000 or so immigrants who tried to use the system while awaiting processing in Tijuana, Mexico, were able to secure appointments.
English and Spanish only
The online system is often of little use to immigrants even when it does work. Users can only choose between English and Spanish when they access the app, but a large number of immigrants waiting at the southern border are from countries like Haiti where few people speak either of these languages. These frustrations have prompted many immigrants to give up and cross the border illegally. In December, illegal border crossings reached an all-time high according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
One step forward, two steps back
It appears that the Biden administration tried to tackle a pressing immigration problem before adequately testing the tools that would be used to accomplish the task. Haste almost always leads to problems, and this is what seems to have happened during the CBPOne rollout. The people affected by these issues are fleeing intolerable conditions and desperately want to start new lives in the United States, and they deserve better.