Council Sues to Get Records about CBP’s Treatment of Migrants without CBP One Appointments

Lawsuit seeks more transparency about what CBP officers do when migrants try to present at ports of entry without CBP One appointments and potential cooperation between CBP and the Mexican authorities to turn back asylum seekers from ports of entry


CBP’s mobile phone app, known as CBP One, has become the main method for migrants to seek asylum at ports of entry on the southern border. Under a new rule issued by the Biden administration in May, migrants who do not have CBP One appointments must wait in Mexico until they can schedule one or risk losing asylum eligibility. While some asylum seekers have been able to successfully use the app to schedule processing appointments at ports of entry, others have encountered major obstacles. 

DHS has failed to inform the public about what CBP officers do when individuals try to seek asylum at ports of entry but don’t have a CBP One appointment. The rule issued in May does not permit CBP officers to turn people away and allows for migrants to claim certain exemptions to the CBP One appointment requirement. But recent media and non-profit reports suggest that CBP officers frequently turn people back and refuse to inspect them if they don’t have CBP One appointments.  Reports also have surfaced that Mexican officials often prevent asylum seekers without CBP One appointments from reaching U.S. ports of entry.  

On July 11, the Council and the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies filed a request under FOIA to find out more about these practices.  

CBP did not respond to the request, and the Council along with CGRS filed this lawsuit to compel disclosure. The lawsuit seeks information about CBP’s procedures for processing migrants approaching the southern border who do not have a CBP One appointment, the agency’s cooperation with Mexican officials about treatment of asylum seekers without CBP One appointments, the number of migrants impacted, as well as the agency’s processing capacity at ports of entry.  

The lawsuit was filed on October 16 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. 

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