Secret offices, weeks of waiting, calls from private numbers and confidentiality agreements. These are some of the features of the new U.S. immigration program known as Movibilidad Segura, or Safe Mobility, which pursues “the expansion of legal routes to the United States or other countries for refugees and migrants in South and Central America,” according to its official website. The United States launched the program in June with the aim of “reducing irregular migration,” and established migration offices in Colombia, Costa Rica and Guatemala. However, three months after its launch, less than 1% of the nearly 29,000 applicants in Colombia have passed through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP), according to official data. The lack of information and the secrecy surrounding the project have experts consulted by EL PAÍS perplexed, and tens of thousands of migrants trapped between hope and uncertainty.
The application process for Safe Mobility initially sounds straightforward, yet Venezuelan Eliezer Briceño explains by video call that in reality it is not. “It’s tedious,” says the 40-year-old Caracas native, who registered on August 11 with his wife and 8-year-old son on the official website. He succeeded on his second attempt, after failing to do so on his cell phone. “The website is not so user-friendly. Anyone who doesn’t have good technological equipment won’t be able to sign up quickly. Also, you have to have a good internet connection because the site is slow,” he says.