U.S. Mexican Border Wall
U.S. Mexican Border Wall. Representational Image. Creative Commons

Migrants in Mexico made over 64 million official requests to enter the United States through an app created by the Biden administration as a way to organize asylum requests at the southern border, CBS reported on Tuesday.

Out of the total requests, nearly 450,000 have been allowed into the country --barely 0.7%-- through the process started in the app in a little over its first year of use.

The outlet specifies that the requests have not all been made by different people and include repeated attempts by applicants. An official quoted by the outlet said that migrants often make a request a day until getting an appointment.

Using the app and not crossing the border allow those approved by CBP One to apply for a work permit after being released from custody. Those apprehended after crossing illegally become ineligible for asylum if they enter the country after failing to seek refuge in another country beforehand.

Authorities distribute 1,450 appointments every day, with 30% of them assigned to those who have been waiting in Mexico the longest and the rest randomly.

The results, officials said, have been mixed: while illegal crossings by Cubans and Haitians have dropped significantly compared to previous years, this has not been the case with nationals from Central America and Venezuela. Some 2.5 million people crossed the border unlawfully in fiscal year 2023.

Moreover, incentives to wait for appointments might be lower as many of those who enter illegally still get court notices.

Border security is at the centerstage of the political conversation in the U.S., with Joe Biden and Donald Trump pitching their own proposals as the elections get closer.

The Biden administration, on the one hand, is considering implementing executive actions to stem the flow of migration. Even though the plan has been under consideration for months, it's been brought back to fore following the impasse reached in Congress, where Republicans rejected the bipartisan deal negotiated by members of their party and Democrats shortly after the bill was released.

Biden has gone on the offensive ever since it became clear that the border security bill wouldn't be passed, singling out former President Donald Trump as the main responsible for blocking what he said would have been "the toughest, fairest law." He added that Trump would "rather weaponize this issue than actually solve it.

Donald Trump and Joe Biden
Joe Biden and Donald Trump may be set for a rematch in 2024. AFP

Trump, on the other, would seek to implement them using a range of tools that include "obscure laws, military funds and law enforcement officers from all levels of government."

According to a report by Axios, Trump would seek to mobilize several government agencies —ICE, FBI, DEA, federal prosecutors, National Guard members and even state and local law enforcement— to conduct the deportation of millions of undocumented people in the country.

He would also seek to expand fast-track deportations. The measure, currently reserved for recent crossers encountered near the border, would apply to "anyone who illegally crossed the border and couldn't prove they'd been living in the U.S. for more than two years."

Moreover, Trump would resort to an "obscure section of the 1798 Alien and Sedition Acts" to curtail multi-step deportation processes and proceed with the immediate expulsion of migrants with criminal histories. He would also have the military build massive facilities to hold people awaiting deportation.

The report also focuses on the hundreds of thousands who have been allowed into the country under the use of "parole," which guarantees protection for two years. A Trump administration could not renew the program and deport those whose term expires soon.

Such an approach would likely trigger harsh clashes at a domestic level, with several organizations seeking to fight back. Democratic-led states, well-organized Latino advocacy groups and "sanctuary cities would be among the "resistance," Axios says.

However, Trump, who has repeatedly said that immigrants are "poisoning the blood of our country," would have his share of institutional supporters. Among them is Texas governor Greg Abbott, who has been directing National Guard troops to erect razor wire along the border, cracking down on migration unilaterally and sparking a clash with the Biden administration, as the federal government has the sole rule to implement border-related measures.

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