US: Online asylum appointments halted at 1 Texas crossing because of Mexican city’s safety woes

Jun 13, 2023, 3:00 PM

McALLEN, Texas (AP) — The Biden administration said Tuesday that the reason it has halted online asylum appointments at the international crossing in Laredo, Texas, was because of the “security situation” across the border in the Mexican city of Nuevo Laredo.

U.S. Customs Border Protection said in a statement emailed to The Associated Press that the government also took into account other unspecified “operational factors, including relatively low demand for appointments for that location.”

The government released the statement a day after AP reported the change, which took effect June 3 at the Laredo port of entry. Humanitarian groups in Laredo said they recently warned the administration in meetings both in person and on Zoom about people controlling access to the port of entry on the Mexican side and migrants reporting being extorted after flying to Nuevo Laredo.

Asylum seekers told AP that Mexican immigration officials in Nuevo Laredo took their travel documents and threatened to make them miss their scheduled asylum appointments if they did not pay them.

Nuevo Laredo is located in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, which Americans have been warned to avoid by the U.S. Department of State. Bordering the southern tip of Texas, Tamaulipas is a key area of the Cartel del Noreste, formerly known as the Gulf Cartel.

CBP did not provide details about the security situation in Nuevo Laredo or what sets it apart from other Mexican border cities, including Tijuana, whose mayor decided this month to seek refuge at an army base for her own safety.

Tijuana, across from San Diego, has one of the highest homicide rates in Mexico and is among the ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border receiving the highest number of asylum appointments through the CBP One app. The Mexican president said the mayor along with the governor of the state of Baja California, where Tijuana is located, have received threats from organized crime.

Thousands of asylum-seekers are stuck in Mexican border towns, waiting until they can get an appointment to seek refuge in the U.S. after being blocked during the COVID-19 pandemic by a public health restriction called Title 42. The restriction was lifted last month.

Though the government opened some new avenues for immigration, the fate of many people is largely left to the CBP One app that is used for scheduling an appointment at a port of entry.

The government said it would continue to open 1,250 appointments daily by reallocating the slots for Laredo to the seven other crossings along the U.S.-Mexico border. It vowed to honor online appointments issued for the Laredo crossing before the June 3 change. The government schedules appointments two weeks out.

CBP gives priority to people with an app appointment, though people can try to be admitted by going in person without one. Anyone who has an acute medical condition or is under an immediate threat of kidnapping or death also can ask to be admitted in person.

Laredo saw only a fraction of appointments compared to San Diego and Brownsville, Texas.


Watson reported from San Diego

United States News

Associated Press

Maine doctor convicted on multiple counts of illegally distributing opioids

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A Maine doctor who runs an addiction treatment center has been convicted on multiple counts of illegally distributing opioids including oxycodone, hydromorphone and fentanyl. Dr. Merideth Norris, 53, of Kennebunk, Maine, was found guilty in federal court Friday of distributing the opioids at her practice. According to court documents, she did […]

43 minutes ago

Associated Press

Teen charged with murder in death of 7-year-old Chicago boy struck by random gunfire

CHICAGO (AP) — A teenager was charged with murder in the fatal shooting of a 7-year-old Chicago boy who was not the intended target of gunfire earlier in the week, police said. “There is no excuse for this violence,” police Supt. Larry Snelling said Friday night. Jai’mani Amir Rivera was killed Tuesday outside an apartment […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

3 Alabama men die after becoming distressed while swimming at Florida beach

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Three Alabama men have died from likely drowning after becoming distressed while swimming at a Florida Panhandle beach, authorities said Saturday morning. The young men had traveled to the Panama City Beach area Friday evening, the Bay County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post. The sheriff’s office received […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

New Mexico heavy rain and flash flooding prompt mandatory evacuations

LAS VEGAS, N.M. (AP) — Heavy rain and flash flood warnings in New Mexico prompted officials to order some mandatory evacuations, with shelters set up for displaced residents. The National Weather Service office announced a flash flood emergency on Friday night through early Saturday. The impacted areas included the city of Las Vegas, New Mexico […]

7 hours ago

Associated Press

Parts of Washington state parental rights law criticized as a ‘forced outing’ placed on hold

SEATTLE (AP) — A judge has paused parts of a new Washington state parental rights law derided by critics as a “forced outing” measure. King County Superior Court Judge Michael Scott on Friday paused portions of the law while a lawsuit brought by civil liberties groups and others is pending, The Seattle Times reported. The […]

12 hours ago

Associated Press

Ex-CEO of Nevada-based health care company Ontrak convicted of $12.5 million insider trading scheme

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The former CEO and chairman of Ontrak, a publicly traded health care company based in Nevada, was found guilty Friday of a multimillion-dollar insider trading scheme. A federal jury in Los Angeles convicted Terren Scott Peizer, a resident of Puerto Rico and Santa Monica, California, of one count of securities fraud […]

14 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.


Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.


Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

US: Online asylum appointments halted at 1 Texas crossing because of Mexican city’s safety woes