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Hundreds of migrants stormed the Paso del Norte, Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, with the intention of crossing into El Paso, Texas in the United States, on 12 March 2023. The people, some accompanied with children, entered the federal area on the Mexican side and reached the hump of the bridge, where U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers prevented their passage with barricades of wires and, allegedly, pepper spray. (Photo by Christian Torres/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Frustrated Asylum-Seekers Attempt to Surge Over U.S.-Mexico Border

Hundreds of migrants—primarily from Venezuela—tried to enter the United States on 12 March, pushing their way over a bridge connecting the country with Mexico.

The group—which included families with small children—gathered and approached the international boundary between Ciudad Juarez in Mexico, and El Paso, Texas, in the United States. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers implemented port hardening measures along the bridge between the countries, temporarily halting northbound traffic, CBP said in a statement cited by CNN. The group was thwarted by barbed wire, barriers, and shields, as well as, allegedly, pepper spray.

They were attempting to demand asylum in the United States; frustrations with the asylum process have been mounting following trouble with a new U.S. government app—CBP One—needed to secure appointments, Reuters reported.

“Each day, migrants wake before sunrise to search for a Wi-Fi signal and try to get one of the 700 to 800 appointments available at eight entry points,” The Washington Post reported. “Advocates estimate there are more than 100,000 people seeking entry. The appointments fill up within five minutes.”

The app is meant to remove some of the perils from having long lines of migrants waiting in border cities, where they can be targeted or attacked. Instead, people can apply from their home country and turn up at the date of their appointment instead of making an uncertain and dangerous journey to the U.S-Mexico border, the Post noted.

But this is little consolation to people already at the border, where people struggle to find a signal to access the glitchy app and then register all of their children or relatives before the day’s appointments are taken. In addition, some families arrived at the border penniless and had to scrounge funds together to buy smartphones and data credits to access the app.

“Desperation mounts as they look toward a country within eyeshot but perpetually out of reach,” the Post added.