In Nogales, an asylum bottleneck forces a choice: Monthslong wait or dangerous desert crossing

AZ Luminaria

by John Washington

March 7, 2024

More migrants are crossing in the Tucson sector than anywhere else along the U.S.-México border, but there is only one port-of-entry to schedule appointments for an asylum claim through the CBP One app

Idalia has been waiting in Nogales, Sonora since last May. She left her hometown, near Sahuayo, Michoacán, a state in central México that has faced violence — kidnappings, killings, extortion — for years. 

“It’s really bad,” she says in Spanish after a long pause. “It’s much more intense than what I’m going through here, and this is hard enough.” 

In December, she was in Nogales with her 2-year-old son Nico and younger brother and mother. Idalia asked that she be identified by her first name to protect her family.

Despite daily attempts and about seven months of waiting, she has not been able to get an appointment to ask for asylum. She wakes up, feeds her child, and knows that every day she must open her phone. Under new border policies, these are her first steps towards filing an official asylum claim: checking the CBP One Mobile app — the smartphone application that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security updated at the beginning of 2023 to help “streamline the photo capture and scheduling process.” Read full article here.