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US biometric asylum app gets new functions to help migrants speed their way

US biometric asylum app gets new functions to help migrants speed their way

The U.S. federal government is trying to expand asylum protections to would-be migrants at the southwest border. Customs and Border Protection officials have launched a new digital document process to an immigration program begun in October 2020.

The changes to the so-called CBP One app are designed to reduce the need for people to use people smugglers. It is not uncommon for smugglers to prey on the people who have paid them for help across the border.

Applicants using CBP One’s mobile app (which uses face biometrics for identity verification) or desktop software in their home countries are not part of the crush of desperate people trying to do the same thing in overcrowded and, often, dangerous, conditions in far northern Mexico.

The app is used by more than just asylum seekers – among them: travelers, truck drivers, customs brokers, aircraft operator, bus operators and international organizations.

That said, migrants can complete essential documents like I-94 travel permits and seek appointments with immigration officials in advance of reaching the border.

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