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Show up at a border crossing with Mexico and ask a U.S. official for asylum? Sign up online? Go to a U.S. embassy or consulate? The Biden administration has been conspicuously silent about how migrants who plan to claim should enter the United States when Trump-era limits end, fueling rumours, confusion and doubts about the government’s readiness despite more than two years to prepare.

Migrants have been denied rights to seek asylum under the U.S. and international law 2.5 million times since March 2020 on grounds of preventing COVID-19 under a public-health rule that was scheduled to expire Wednesday until U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts ordered a temporary hold. Title 42 has been applied disproportionately to those from countries that Mexico agrees to take back: Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and more recently Venezuela, in addition to Mexico. People from those countries are expected to drive an anticipated increase in asylum claims once the rule is lifted.

Many expect the government to use CBPOne, an online platform for appointment registration that was introduced in 2020. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection mobile app has had limited use for people applying for travel permits and for those tracking U.S. immigration court hearings under the now-defunct “Remain in Mexico” policy.
It’s expected migrants using the app would make appointments to seek asylum in the United States, but would have to remain outside the country until their slotted time and date. CBPOne, which some advocacy groups oppose over data privacy concerns, may be impractical for migrants without internet access or language skills. The agency also must get the word out.

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