REYNOSA, Mexico — There’s a new way of getting things done if migrants at the border want to claim asylum in the United States.
A sign of that is the sudden long lines at the local office of the Instituto Nacional de Migración, which is Spanish for the National Migration Institute. It’s the Mexican equivalent of the U.S.C.I.S.
Dougie Leblanc, a Haitian migrant who has just arrived in Reynosa, México, found out about the new process on her first day. Leblanc, her husband and daughter had to wait in line all day.
“The way the process is, we have to keep on waiting so that we are legally in Mexico. We get first the permission and then we will do the app,” said Leblanc as she took a break on the sidewalk with her 3-year-old daughter sleeping in her arms. Her husband continued standing in line for them.
Leblanc is talking about the CBP One app, which is a part of the new process of asylum for Haitians, Nicaraguans, Cubans and Venezuelans. In order to claim one of the 30,000 monthly humanitarian parole spots at the U.S. border, they must be legally in Mexico, or any other country they went through — especially Panama.
That’s why the last two weeks there have been long lines all day long. Some have gotten impatient, but Leblanc just accepts that it’s got to be done.
“We are tired! I am tired. And as of now, we don’t know what’s gonna happen, if we’re gonna go in or not [to the U.S.],” said Leblanc.
According to the Department of Homeland Security, the new guidelines were put in place as an incentive for migrants to seek safe and orderly means of travel, with consequences for those who don’t.
For some, patience has paid off as they’ve come out with documents in hand. Phillipe is among the folk that have. He felt relieved as he reviewed his application outside the building. But he knows he just started the process and it will take two months to get his temporary humanitarian visa.
“What can we do about it if immigration is saying that you have to wait for two months? You just have to wait. There’s no other option,” Phillipe said with resignation.
Leblanc also feels she is doing the right thing and her chances of receiving asylum are high.
“I have a lot of hope, patience, you see? It’s not easy. I have faith I’ll make it there,” Leblanc said in an optimistic tone.
Every day, people are going to the International Bridges under the new system that mandates the use of the CBP One app. DHS stated the process seeks to reduce the congestion at the border and unsafe encampments. Border Patrol had almost 50,000 encounters with Haitians at the southern border in 2022, and according to the United Nations, as many as 62,000 Haitians were in Mexico last year.
With all this, Leblanc now thinks she could have done it all back home. And this is exactly what the U.S. and Mexican governments want.