Mexico said to be near an app designed to ease growing asylum crisis
Mexico reportedly has developed an app intended to lessen the chaos, dangers and wait times faced by asylum seekers at its border.
The United States Department of Homeland Security launched similar, allegedly wobbly, mobile software for asylum seekers 18 months ago. The app, called CBP One has biometric recognition.
Both apps were created to give would-be asylum seekers a way to register at a distance their intention to migrate. Crowds at border fences and facilities have attracted criminals preying on or even attacking largely defenseless people. There often are few resources at the sites that most citizens in either country would recognize as safe housing.
The governments of both nations face criticism from immigration advocates because functional phones typically are in short supply among asylum hopefuls when they arrive at Mexico’s and the United States’ doorstep.
The U.S. version, CBP One, software deployed by Customs and Border Protection, a unit within Homeland Defense. CBP One also has been pilloried for performing poorly.
According to reporting by cable news outlet CNN, COMAR, Mexico’s refugee assistant agency, the nation’s border resources are being pushed to their limit by the number of people seeking safety from Central America and the Caribbean.
The app, which has not been widely publicized anywhere on Mexico’s federal government site, is call the preregistration system. It will be distributed beginning the week of June 5, and will initially work only in Mexico City, where large numbers of migration hopefuls are.
At the end of March, Mexico announced an online “preregistration system” for Columbian travelers, but it is not clear if it is the same software being discussed now.
CBP One has a broad mandate. According to the government’s 35-page privacy impact assessment of CBP One, it has functions intended for travelers, importers, brokers, carriers and international organizations. The app is integrated with the government’s Login.gov identification service.
Human rights advocates continue to decry the mandatory features of CBP One. According to Amnesty International, making the app the de facto avenue for seeking refuge across borders is a “clear violation of international human rights law.”