Mexico Launches Asylum Processing App Amid Soaring Demand: Addressing Challenges and Humanitarian Concerns
Mexico will launch a new asylum app to handle the rising number of asylum seekers. Even as the US struggled with a similar asylum-seeker app, the country is seeing record asylum requests.
Andrés Ramírez, head of Mexico’s refugee assistance agency (COMAR), stressed the need for such an app to manage Mexico City’s overwhelming asylum applications. Mexico City received more asylum requests than Tapachula, which borders Guatemala, in the first 18 days of May.
The “pre-registration system” app will allow asylum seekers to register online to speed up processing due to the surge in asylum seekers. The app will launch in Mexico City with plans to expand.
Andrés Ramírez said the end of Title 42 in the US prompted asylum seekers to come to Mexico to cross into the US. However, the Biden administration banned most illegal asylum-seekers from entering the US.
US immigrant advocacy groups have criticized the CBP One app, a similar initiative. These groups noted language barriers, limited smartphone and internet access, and concerns about facial recognition technology’s handling of darker skin. Despite these concerns, CBP said the app has been successful, with over 79,000 people scheduling appointments since January 2023.
Mexico’s asylum app allows applicants to apply from within Mexican territory, unlike CBP One. However, immigration experts advise against using apps because scheduling appointments can be difficult for urgent asylum seekers.
Many migrants wait for asylum in Mexico City, which has overcrowded shelters and unsafe living conditions. Aid groups worry about the health and safety of these migrants, especially those from Haiti, Venezuela, Honduras, Cuba, and El Salvador, who seek asylum in Mexico.
Mexican asylum seekers risk exploitation, robbery, violence, and discrimination. Sleeping on the street increases their risk of harm. Ramírez expects 140,000 asylum applications in Mexico this year.
As the asylum crisis continues, fair and humane solutions that respect asylum seekers’ legal rights and reflect 21st-century realities are needed.