Read and download full report today: Congressional Updates Year in Review 2023
In 2023, an average of 770 people per month arrived at KBI’s migrant aid center in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, totaling over 9,200 people. KBI listens to each individual or family arriving in Nogales during the encuesta or intake survey. From the encuesta, migrant people are referred for further services at KBI. The encuesta also forms the basis of our biweekly Congressional updates collected here, and our legal representation partnership with the Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project provides additional information.
The following is a compilation of the biweekly updates that KBI provided to Congressional offices, government agencies and other organizations in 2023. Each update provides statistics, trends and personal testimonies that help illustrate the impacts of border policies and the lived experiences of migrant people in the Arizona-Sonora corridor and beyond.
In 2023, 83% of people arriving at KBI reported violence or persecution as their primary reason for migrating. The term “violence and persecution” encompasses many different experiences, such as political persecution, often reported by Venezuelan nationals, and organized criminal violence, often reported by Mexican nationals. This is a significantly higher proportion than in 2021 (67% reported migrating due to violence/persecution) and 2022 (75%).
Diego*, of Honduras, is an asylum seeker who arrived at KBI in 2023. He fled Honduras after an organized crime group began to persecute him as a business owner. In Mexico City, he got a CBP One appointment to present at the port of entry in Nogales to start his asylum process. A few days prior to his appointment, he began to travel toward Nogales, but in the Northern state of Chihuahua, an armed man forced him off the bus. He held Diego hostage for nearly a month, demanding $3,000 USD. Diego’s family had to sell their belongings until they could send the ransom. Diego was finally released, only to have missed his CBP One appointment. Diego’s experience is one of many that illustrates the dangers and injustices asylum seekers face trying to seek protection in the US.
CBP One is a smart phone application that the US government began requiring asylum seekers to use as a way to access asylum processing at ports of entry. Asylum-seekers are expected to use the app to secure an appointment on their own. The extremely limited number of appointments has meant that family units struggled to get appointments. Families reported to KBI that if they were lucky enough to get an appointment, there was only space for 1 or maybe 2 individuals in the slot. The number of CBP One appointments available increased slightly over time. There are currently 1,450 daily CBP One appointments border wide for asylum processing, and only 100 a day in Nogales, the sole port of entry that accepts CBP One appointments for an expanse of 700 miles between Calexico, CA and El Paso, TX.
CBP One creates a digital barrier to asylum. A CBP One appointment is the only way that asylum seekers have full access to the asylum system, yet access to protection is premised on financial privilege (smart phone, data/internet access), literacy (tech literacy, literacy in one of the languages the app is available in), and luck.