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US Launches Online System to Seek Asylum on Mexican Border

The Biden administration on Thursday launched an online appointment system as the only way for migrants to get exceptions from pandemic-era limits on asylum — the U.S. government’s latest major step in eight days to overhaul border enforcement.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection began allowing migrants to make appointments up to two weeks out using its website and through CBPOne, a mobile app that the agency has used in limited ways since 2020. CBPOne is replacing an opaque, bewildering patchwork of exemptions to a public health order known as Title 42 under which the government has denied migrants’ U.S. and international rights to claim asylum since March 2020.

Savitri Arvey, a senior policy adviser at the Women’s Refugee Commission, said she struggled to explain all the recent policy changes to migrants during a visit to Monterrey, Mexico.

“It was just impossible in (migrant) shelters,” she said Thursday. ”‘There’s this option for you, Venezuelans but not for you, Central Americans,’” she said.

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