In addition to the incomplete wall of steel bollards, the U.S.–Mexico border now has a digital wall—the CBP One app, which the U.S. government recently began using for asylum seekers in order to discourage irregular crossings. While the app has provided a legal pathway to the United States for some migrants, others have encountered problems such as error messages and system crashes, causing yet more anxiety for those seeking asylum.
Hundreds of migrants are currently waiting in shelters in Piedras Negras, Mexico. They are constantly on their cell phones—not to talk to their families, but to keep trying to secure an appointment with immigration authorities on the CBP app. For some, such as thirty-seven-year-old Cinthia Yolani Matute Cruz from Honduras, the app has become a source of distress. “This app messes with you,” she says. “I’m desperate about this. Emotionally, it makes you feel really bad.”