The Biden Administration Let Migrants Apply for Asylum on an App. They Still Crossed the Border Illegally.

(Mario Tama/Getty Images)
January 17, 2024

For months, the Biden administration blew past its self-imposed cap on asylum applications through the CBP One app. And then in December, applications plummeted.

That’s because migrants are finding it easier to enter the country illegally, internal memos obtained by the Washington Free Beacon show.

"Why wait to be scheduled for an interview to come over when you can immediately cross, surrender to Border Patrol, and get stamped with a court date in the next decade?" a senior Department of Homeland Security official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told the Free Beacon.

Illegal border crossings have surged in the year since President Joe Biden marked the launch of CBP One with the promise that it would "substantially reduce the number of people attempting to cross our southwest border without going through a legal process."

Biden in particular pointed to the success of a trial program that showed a dramatic drop of illegal border crossings from Venezuelans. Documents obtained by the Free Beacon show that CBP One appointments for Venezuelans plummeted in December and January.

"This program was meant to give Customs and Border Protection an easier time, but the Biden administration is completely oblivious to basic incentives and feels no urgency," the senior official told the Free Beacon.

CBP One’s failure is another setback for the White House, which is facing increasing criticism over its botched handling of the border crisis. Even Democratic mayors say their cities are teetering on the brink of collapse due to the migrant surge, which the White House pointedly refuses to call a "crisis."

The Department of Homeland Security did not respond to a request for comment.

Republicans criticized CBP One from the outset, saying it was unlawful and would make it easier for illegal aliens to enter the country. The Department of Homeland Security initially said it would only allow roughly 43,000 CBP One appointments a month, but has made thousands more appointments per month since August 2023.

Now, with little threat of deportation, many migrants believe it is easier to simply cross the border illegally than go through the CBP One app, internal agency documents show. That trend, the senior Department of Homeland Security official said, is expected to continue.

"This administration ignores every data point that tells them their policies aren’t working."

Roughly four million illegal aliens have been released into the United States since Biden took office, the most since federal officials started keeping records. The state of the southern border has caused rising anger on Capitol Hill and in Democratic-controlled cities struggling to deal with the influx of migrants.

Faced with low approval ratings and bipartisan outrage over Biden's immigration policies, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said last month that the "increased migration flows" are "not unusual."

House Republicans are set to begin impeachment proceedings against embattled Homeland Security secretary Alejandro Mayorkas this month. And Senate Republicans are in closed-door negotiations with their Democratic counterparts over a Homeland Security funding deal that would include stricter enforcement on the southern border.