Hundreds of people tried to enter the U.S. from Mexico on Sunday. U.S. officials stopped the hundreds of migrants, mostly from Venezuela, after a large group broke through Mexican lines to demand asylum in the U.S.
Frustrated with problems securing appointments to seek asylum using a new U.S. government app, the migrants gathered at the frontier in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez, but could not breach the crossing connecting the two countries.
Some said they thought they would be allowed entry because of a supposed “day of the migrant” celebration.
Images on social media showed a group that included many women and children running towards the border, shouting “to the USA.”
They quickly encountered barbed wire, orange barricades, and police with shields.
Some have been waiting for months to try and even schedule an appointment to apply for asylum in the U.S. Families told reporters of waiting six months or more.
Appointments must now be booked through a Customs and Border Protection mobile app that was introduced this year as asylum seekers were required to apply in advance rather than upon arrival.
But the app is beset by persistent glitches and high demand, leaving them in limbo in perilous border regions.
The Biden administration has been hoping to stem the record tide of migrants and asylum seekers undertaking often dangerous journeys organized by human smugglers to get to the United States.
In January, the White House proposed expanding a controversial rule to allow border guards to turn away more would-be migrants if they arrive by land.
Biden took office vowing to give refuge to asylum seekers and end harsh detention policies for illegal border crossers, but since he commissioned new asylum eligibility rules in a February 2021 executive order, there have been disagreements within the administration over how generous the regulations should be.
Some top administration officials have voiced concern about issuing rules that could make additional migrants eligible for asylum and make it more difficult to deport them while the administration is focused on reducing unlawful border crossings.