Reporting on March 16, 2023, the Nogales-based Kino Border Initiative (KBI) recounted a case of expulsion of vulnerable asylum seekers with CBP One appointments without a chance to talk to an asylum officer, and confiscation of documentation in CBP custody.
William and Obelia [names changed to protect privacy] each had fled Venezuela and met each other on the journey. In Ciudad Juarez, they were able to schedule an appointment through CBPOne for March 12, but in Nogales, Sonora. They had to travel atop La Bestia (cargo train) to get to the appointment. They arrived at 12 pm for their appointment and each explained that they had lost their original IDs while traveling through the Darien Gap. They each had photocopies of their IDs that family members had sent to them after having lost their originals. The CBP agent detained them both at the Nogales POE – Obelia until 8 pm and William until 3 am. The CBP agent confiscated Obelia’s copy of her ID and the paper she had printed with the appointment confirmation. He said, “Do you think I’d let you enter with this?” and, “You crossed through 8 countries to get here- why didn’t you seek asylum in one of those countries? Why the US?” The agents rejected them both for not having original IDs and expelled them to the streets of Nogales, Obelia at 8 pm and William at 3 am.
— “March 16 update from KBI” (Nogales: Kino Border Initiative, March 16, 2023).
Reporting on March 2, 2023, the Nogales-based Kino Border Initiative (KBI), stated, “The CBPOne application is currently the sole way to access the asylum process in the US. The extremely limited number of appointments and the myriad technology and accessibility challenges in accessing them (outlined in the Strauss Center’s February Asylum Processing Report) has led to irregular crossing, kidnapping, family separation and danger for families forced to wait in Mexico when they are unable to access an appointment on the app.”
Among cases cited:
Jaime, [name changed to protect privacy] his wife and his son fled Venezuela and arrived in Piedras Negras, Coahuila. There, they were able to schedule an appointment through CBPOne, but the only available appointment was in San Ysidro, Baja California, over 1200 miles away. While traveling to San Ysidro by bus, the entire family was kidnapped, tortured and extorted by a criminal group. The people who boarded the bus identified themselves as Mexican immigration agents, and after asking Jaime and his family where they were from, told them they needed to get off the bus so they could check their documents. These supposed immigration agents brought them to a house, where they were held for 20 days, extorted and tortured. One night at 3 am, they were blindfolded, put in a truck and taken to the border wall. They said they had to walk and cross and if they tried to come back they would kill them. Once they crossed, they called 911 and explained what happened. BP arrived and they explained that they had been kidnapped, had missed their CBPOne appt while being held hostage, and were forced to cross. The agent responded that really they were the criminals because they had crossed illegally. A few hours later, BP expelled them to Nogales, Mexico.
“March 2 update from KBI” (Nogales: Kino Border Initiative, March 2, 2023).