Supreme Court Rules To Keep Title 42 Border Restriction In Place Foundry/Pixabay

The United States government launched an online appointment system for migrants seeking to enter the country on Thursday. This system has now been set as the only way to receive exceptions from restrictions issued during the pandemic and is the first major step for the Biden administration to alleviate the crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border. The new system would be hosted by CBPOne, a mobile app used sparingly by U.S. Customs and Border Protection since 2020.

According to the Associated Press, the CBP allowed migrants to book appointments for up to two weeks using its website as well as CBPOne. The app would replace the supposedly obscure and confusing assortment of exemptions to the public health order issued during the pandemic known as Title 42, which denied the U.S. and international rights for migrants to claim asylum to reduce the spread of Covid-19 in the country.

Before the implementation of the online system, the CBP arranged exemptions through advocates, churches, attorneys, and migrant shelters, but did not publicly reveal their respective names nor did they specify the number of slots available. The previous system saw advocates picking and choosing those who may enter the country before receiving final confirmation from the CBP.

The new system, however, would allow migrants to simply apply directly to the agency via the app or website and await a government official to either approve or deny their application. Appointments would be held at one of eight designated border crossings. These include Brownsville, El Paso, Hidalgo, and Laredo in Texas; Nogales, Arizona; and Calexico and San Diego in California.

The announcement on Thursday was a separate matter from last week's newly announced policy that would expel migrants hailing from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela to Mexico under Title 42. However, at the same time, up to 30,000 migrants from those countries would be admitted into the U.S. monthly, under humanitarian parole that would last 2 years if they would apply online, pay for their airfare, and provide a willing sponsor.

Though the CBP previously announced that it would implement the new system, the speed of its implementation caught advocates off guard and caused some confusion.

Migrants seek humanitarian visas to cross the country and reach the U.S., in Tapachula
Migrants seek humanitarian visas to cross the country and reach the U.S., in Tapachula. Photo by: Reuters/Jacob Garcia

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