U.S. Customs and Border Protection One App Is a Fiasco

The Biden administration’s CBP One mobile admission app has escalated the border surge instead of, as promised, more effectively managing it. Think of CBP One like the Open Table app, but instead of confirming a hard-to-get reservation at a trendy dining establishment, illegal aliens can secure their places in line for U.S. entry, parole, coveted work authorization and eventual citizenship. The app is part of the misleadingly labeled “New Border Enforcement Actions,” introduced on Jan. 5, that Biden pledged would bring safe and orderly border admissions.

From the beginning, CBP One has been a bust. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) app, aimed primarily at Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans, has incentivized thousands of migrants who overwhelmed the system, and got stuck, homeless and hungry, in Mexico. Tijuana, for example, experienced a 181 percent increase in migrant arrivals during the app’s first two weeks. Coordinator Cristina Coronado, with the Human Mobility Pastoral of the Diocese of Juárez, told El Universal that she views migrants who rush the border as “… a humanitarian crisis, because there are families with babies looking for shelters but they are all collapsed, and the municipal police are chasing migrants in the streets.”

CBP One has been operating in Mexicali since September, and for even longer in Tijuana, a two-hour bus ride away. Migrants from an estimated 172 nations, encouraged by the Biden administration’s loose approach to border security, are now showing up at the Mexicali airport at the northern border on planes from the south, across from Calexico, Calif., and Yuma, Ariz.

Precipitating the bedlam and disorder is the CBP One app’s reality. The app has continually crashed and often cannot be reliably used on the migrants’ trail northward. Since its first day of widespread use, January 12, multiple confirmed incidents have persisted that involve aliens who can’t complete applications, check their status or access any type of useful information.

Even though the app has a growing history of failure, the migrants keep coming. Frustrated migrants take desperate measures to enter the U.S., the goal that Biden implied would be available to them. Little wonder then that on March 12, a 1,000-strong migrant group, mostly Venezuelans, surged the U.S. border entry point in El Paso, Texas. Customs and Border Protection increased its manpower on the border’s U.S. side, while the Mexican military contained the aggressive crowd on the southern side of the Paso del Norte bridge that connects El Paso to Mexico. The El Paso migrant rush resulted from illegal migrants being told that Sunday was “Día de Los Migrants" and that all would be welcomed, cartel-promoted misinformation.

In response to the El Paso mess, U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales, whose congressional district includes 800 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border, said that Biden needs to “show action” on the border. Actions, Gonzales said, are more important than empty words. Gonzales urged the Department of Homeland Security to fly those that don’t qualify for asylum back to their countries of origin.

Gonzales’ advice is sound. In New York, where Texas, Florida and other border state governors have sent migrants, the city’s Immigration Customs and Enforcement office announced that it is “fully booked” until 2023, the nation’s most backlogged jurisdiction. Rounding out the Top Ten in appointment wait times are Jacksonville, Fla., which was mostly booked through June 2028; Miramar, Fla., fully booked through January 2028; Atlanta, mostly booked through January 2027; San Antonio, fully booked through February 2027; Mount Laurel, N.J., fully booked through May 2026; Chicago, mostly booked through February 2026; Baltimore, mostly booked through January 2026; Milwaukee, fully booked through February 2026, and Indianapolis, fully booked through January 2026. Nationwide, more than 2 million pending asylum cases have clogged the immigration courts. For the migrants who eventually appear before a judge, more than 70 percent of their claims are denied.

Restoring order at the border and sovereignty to U.S. through enforcement of existing immigration laws will be an uphill battle. The best short-term chance may come during the 2024 presidential campaign if Biden, anticipating a tough re-election, tacks to the center, a traditional strategy that could deliver crucial votes in swing states like Arizona and Florida. For now, however, the status quo is firmly in place, bad news for Americans who want their country returned to them.