Customs and Border Protection agents stopped hundreds of Venezuelan migrants from entering the U.S. on Sunday, Mar. 12, after they tried to run across an international bridge in El Paso, Texas. Agents used concertina wire, concrete barricades and shields to stop the immigrants from pushing through to America.
The immigrants said they tried to cross because of an online rumor that families with children would be allowed through and because of frustration with the CBP One mobile app that the Biden Administration is using to process entry claims.
In January, President Joe Biden announced his administration was expanding a parole program that allows approved individuals to live and work in the United States for two years. Immigrants have to apply on the CBP One App. But that app has poor reviews on both the Apple App store and Google Play store, averaging about 2.5 out of 5 stars.
“The app is designed to discourage individuals from congregating near the border and creating unsafe conditions,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in January 2023 when the program was announced.
Reviews state that the app has glitches, issues with storing application information and doesn’t perform some of the basic functions needed to complete an application like taking a photo of a passport.
“When trying to Request Advance Travel Authorization, it scans the passport number, but it shows an error message when trying to take a photo for the identity verification. Please, many Cubans and others are failing to complete their I-134A process because of this,” Chris Feline wrote on the Google Play Store.
“The app is not working for Cubans trying to apply for the new Advance Travel Authorization. When you try to take your photo the app gives you an error,” Karlateresa98 wrote on the Apple App store.
Customs and Border Protection has responded to some of the reviews apologizing for the problems and telling the customer to email CBPOne@cbp.dhs.gov so it can address problems. The CBP also encouraged users to download a newer version of the app, which it said fixed the issue.
Immigration advocates have criticized the administration for creating an app to apply, saying it puts the poorest at a disadvantage and gives an advantage to those with easy access to a smartphone. The Department of Homeland Security has credited the parole program with a significant drop in illegal immigration since mid-January.