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Texas Suing Biden Administration Over Asylum Rule Facilitating Illegal Immigration Through Phone App

A migrant from Venezuela seeking asylum in the US uses his phone to access the CBP One application. Photograph: José Luis González/Reuters
A migrant from Venezuela seeking asylum in the US uses his phone to access the CBP One application. Photograph: José Luis González/Reuters

As the United States continues to face increased illegal migrant crossings from Mexico, the state of Texas is suing the Biden administration over a newly created asylum rule that utilizes a mobile application.

According to reports, Texas officials are arguing that a phone app used by migrants to set up appointments at the border to come into the US has encouraged illegal immigration. In the filed lawsuit, Texas argues that the asylum rule encourages illegal migrants who do not have documentation to make an appointment to come to a port of entry and eventually into the homeland using the cellphone app called CBP One.

The asylum law that introduced the app, the Circumvention of Lawful Pathways, went into effect after Title 42 expired in early May. The rule prohibits migrants from traveling to the southern border to obtain asylum if they do not first obtain protection in a country they went through before arriving in the US or if they do not apply online through CBP One.

The lawsuit states that the Biden administration encourages people to come to America despite not having any legal basis to stay. In a news release, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said the administration "deliberately conceived of this phone app with the goal of illegally pre-approving more foreign aliens to enter the country and go where they please once they arrive."

In response to the filed lawsuit, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said that such a move would create disorder and lead to more problems over illegal immigration, arguing that the app was part of a series of measures that would reduce illegal immigration by around 70% since the administration ended Title 42.

"Lawful pathways like making an appointment to appear at a port of entry using the CBP One app allow us to process migrants in a safe, orderly, and humane way and reduce unlawful immigration," the DHS statement read. "This is particularly critical at a time when Congress has failed to reform our broken immigration system," the department said.

Biden officials say that the app is a critical aspect of the President's plan to create a more orderly system at the border where migrants can obtain appointments ahead of time. Following the app's introduction in January this year, lawmakers and immigration experts noted its technological problems and the lack of preparedness of border agents.

Texas officials argue that by federal law, individuals entering the US illegally - with rare exceptions - should be deported. The app does not verify whether migrants who are looking for appointments qualify for such an exception. Thus, the administration's use of the app encourages individuals to come to America even if they do not adhere to the qualifications.

The latest lawsuit filed by Texas comes as the state is part of another lawsuit against the administration for overstepping its legal authority and allowing as many as 360,000 people a year from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela to enter America under its humanitarian parole authority.

State officials also note that Texas taxpayers are paying the financial burden of migrants coming into America for health care and education. Despite the plea from Texas officials to Washington for more resources in addressing the influx of illegal crossings, the Biden administration continues to pay little attention to the border crisis, with DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas arguing that the US southern border is secure to lawmakers and the American public.

In response to the growing border crisis, states like Florida, Idaho, and others are sending resources and law enforcement officers to assist Texas border agents who are overwhelmed at the southern border.

Related Story: How U.S. Border Patrol Agents Decide on Which Migrants Get Released into the U.S.

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