When they arrived in Ciudad Juárez on 17 March, throughout the US-Mexican border from El Paso, Texas, Nestor Quintero and his household had been penniless, hungry and homeless. However their main concern was getting their arms on a smartphone.
The 35-year-old Venezuelan migrant had came upon in Tapachula, a metropolis near the Mexico-Guatemala border, that individuals hoping to enter the US to ask for asylum wanted to safe an appointment by way of a lately launched cell phone app often known as CBP One.
The app solely works on smartphones and, to his dismay, Quintero had misplaced his telephone throughout the harrowing trek throughout Panama’s Darién Hole, a roadless jungle on the Colombia-Panama border the place tens of hundreds of migrants heading north have risked their lives previously yr.
Greater than every week after working intermittently at a grocery store in Ciudad Juárez, Quintero earned sufficient cash to purchase a telephone for two,000 Mexican pesos, the equal of $114 (£90) . Initially, the household seen the telephone as their key to enter the US. However it quickly grew to become the primary supply of their frustration.
“We awakened early day by day and tried to get an appointment, however we solely received errors, errors and errors,” Quintero stated, whereas flashing a screenshot of a “System Error” message above the US Customs and Border Safety brand. His spouse and two younger daughters patiently sat subsequent to him.
“We had been determined as a result of we had no cash and no meals. So we surrendered ourselves at gate 36 of the border wall in El Paso.”
A month later, Quintero was 700 miles (1,125km) west, knocking on the metallic door of Espacio Migrante, a migrant shelter in Tijuana, hoping to search out out whether or not he was nonetheless eligible for a CBP One appointment.
After crossing into the US close to El Paso, he and his household had been detained by the US border patrol, flown to California and expelled again throughout the Mexican border to Tijuana.
There, Quintero had seen on social media that legal professionals from the Immigrant Defenders Legislation Middle (ImmDef), a social justice regulation agency based mostly in Los Angeles that serves immigrants going through deportation, had been giving a authorized workshop on the shelter, to assist asylum seekers.