At the End of a Hard Journey, Migrants Face Another: Navigating Bureaucracy

A Homeland Security official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal data, said that more than 46,000 migrants from over 85 countries had made appointments. Venezuelans and Haitians made up the nationalities of those who had secured the most appointments.

Mr. Termulis eventually scheduled an interview for himself and his wife, but in a frustrating twist, neither was able to add their daughter to the app. He entered California on Feb. 15, after his interview, while his wife and daughter remained in Mexico.

“I cried bitterly, like a child, in that moment,” Mr. Termulis said when he learned that his family would not be immediately joining him.

They were finally able to secure an appointment for March 8 and successfully crossed into the United States. But other migrants have been less fortunate, trying to secure appointments since January, Ms. Jozef said.

Recently, the app was updated to make available groups of appointments at the same time, so a family could potentially go together, another homeland security official said.

When asked about issues with the government app, like the problems with securing a picture and difficulty securing appointments, Mr. Mayorkas has said he is aware of them.

“There are, from time to time, issues with it, and we remediate very swiftly,” he said on Feb. 2. “We’re mindful of those and its impact on people’s ability to access the relief we extend.”

But, he said, thousands of people have had success.

Eileen Sullivan reported from Washington, and Steve Fisher reported from Reynosa, Mexico. Miriam Jordan contributed reporting from Los Angeles.

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