The controversial Customs and Border Protection app is now shut down for asylum seekers who plan to cross into the U.S. through Laredo, Texas.
CBP One, as the app is called, fell victim to what immigration activists said are surging instances of extortion by Mexican authorities in crime-ridden Nuevo Laredo, just below the border. Critics charge the app is just another example of the Biden White House catering to illegal migrants.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection gave no explanation for its decision to stop scheduling new appointments via the CBP One app for the crossing in Laredo, Texas. https://t.co/eidxNo2q8f
— FOX 4 NEWS (@FOX4) June 12, 2023
The Associated Press reported that Nuevo Laredo officials rolled out a new scheme to make money from those attempting to cross the border. A Venezuelan related to the AP that he was told, “You’re going to put the money in this envelope and pass it to us.”
Victims are threatened with being held in the town until their asylum appointment passes unless they hand over cash.
The Venezuelan migrant, 29-year-old Rafael Alvarez, reported that his documents along with proof of his CBP One appointment were seized. He was ordered to pay 1,000 pesos to get them back.
This is equivalent to roughly $57.
Alvarez recalled a group of five Russians being held for extortion who paid 5,000 pesos, or about $290. Nuevo Laredo authorities reportedly asked for double but were told by the Russians they did not have that much money.
He added that he knew other Venezuelans who flew to the Mexican city late last month and were forced to pay to get their documents back.
Humanitarian groups in Laredo warned CBP officials that migrants encountered these extortion schemes. They noted that particular groups controlled access to the international crossing on the Mexican side of the border at Laredo.
According to the AP there are thousands of migrants forced to stay in border towns as they wait for their appointments.
The CBP One app has become the most utilized method for setting up these appointments, though personal contact is also used in some cases.
U.S. officials said that appointments scheduled for border crossers at Laredo are being dispersed to the seven other ports of entry where the app may be used. Online appointments scheduled before the June 3 cutoff for Laredo will still be honored.
These meetings are scheduled for two weeks after the date they are made.