Tech Issues Are Making It Harder for Asylum Seekers to Apply
WASHINGTON, DC -Representatives Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-07), Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04) and 33 Members of Congress sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, expressing serious concerns over the recently announced initiatives by the Biden administration to drastically restrict the rights of asylum-seekers at the U.S. Mexico border. The letter also asks the administration to take immediate steps to resolve issues of equity, accessibility and usability of the CBP One mobile application that has prevented people seeking asylum at ports of entry (POE) from scheduling appointments and has made it impossible for families to make appointments as a block.
CBP One requires users to submit photos as part of the information entry process and the facial comparison technology it has used is far more likely to misidentify people of color, children, and transgender migrants. Some migrants, particularly those with darker skin tones, have reported that CBP One rejects required photos, delaying or rejecting their applications. Similarly, there have been many problems associated with capturing images of babies and small children. Transgender migrants may present differently at the border than they did at the time of photo capture, leading to problems at the POE.
“Families traveling thousands of miles to seek safety abroad are entitled to dignity and respect when they arrive at our border,” said Congressman García. “Technology should be used to facilitate processing, not to create a tiered system that treats groups differently according to economic status, gender identity, age, language, nationality or race.”
“We are deeply concerned regarding the technology issues and accessibility of the CBP OneApp and the challenges it creates for the asylum-seeking process,” said Congressman Grijalva. “It’s imperative that these issues are resolved quickly and that throughout the asylum-seeking process families remain together and transparency is prioritized.”
A copy of the letter can be found here.
Cosigners of the letter: Rep. Becca Balint (VT-At Large), Rep. Nanette Barragán (CA-44), Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Rep. Jamaal Bowman (NY-16), Rep. Cori Bush (MO-01), Rep. Tony Cárdenas (CA-29), Rep. Greg Casar (TX-35), Rep. Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Rep. Yvette Clarke (NY-09), Rep. Lou Correa (CA-46), Rep. Veronica Escobar (TX-16), Rep. Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Rep. Valerie Foushee (NC-04), Rep. Robert Garcia (CA-42), Rep. Sylvia Garcia (TX-29), Rep. Jimmy Gomez (CA-34), Rep. Sara Jacobs (CA-51), Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02), Rep. Barbara Lee (CA-12), Rep. James McGovern (MA-02), Rep. Grace Meng (NY-06), Rep. Grace Napolitano (CA-31), Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-At Large), Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Rep. Delia Ramirez (IL-03), Rep. Linda Sánchez (CA-38), Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-05), Rep. Janice Schakowsky (IL-09), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (MI-12), Rep. David Trone (MD-06), Rep. Juan Vargas (CA-52), Rep. Nydia Velázquez (NY-07), and Rep. Nikema Williams (GA-05).
Endorsing Organizations: National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC), Lawyers for Good Government, Witness at the Border, Kino Border Initiative, Quixote Center, Church World Service, Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), International Rescue Committee, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas Justice Team, Women’s Refugee Commission, Espacio Migrante and Illinois Coalition for Immigrants and Refugee Rights.