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WRC in the News

Migrants Grapple with Government App to Make Asylum Appointments

Chelsea Sachau, a lawyer with an Arizona-based nonprofit, had to help distract a squirming toddler and keep him still enough for a live photo, which is required in a new system for asylum appointments through a U.S. government smartphone app.

Hundreds of miles away, Gaby Muñoz, another nonprofit worker based in Ciudad Juárez, watched a migrant spend almost an hour trying to take a photo of herself that the app would accept.

And for many migrants seeking to make their asylum claim without crossing the border unlawfully, by the time they reach the screen to grab a coveted appointment slot, none were available, providers said in interviews.

Savitri Arvey of the Women’s Refugee Commission called the app a “mixed bag” for similar reasons.