More refugees are choosing to remain in Mexico with its booming economy rather than try to enter the U.S.
12/01/2023 // Laura Harris // Views

Over the past decade, Mexico has increasingly become a destination of choice for refugees seeking safety and employment opportunities rather than the United States.

According to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in Mexico, the number of refugees granted asylum approvals skyrocketed from a few hundred a year to an impressive 27,000 in 2021. This year, the country is on track to approve at least 20,000 asylum cases, with the majority of arrivals coming from Honduras, Haiti, Venezuela, El Salvador and Cuba.

Mexico's less restrictive asylum application system and a surplus of job opportunities in the country are both making staying more attractive than attempting to venture north into the United States. (Related: Texas Rangers, Border Patrol reclaim Rio Grande island previously used as base of operations by Mexican drug cartels.)

Given the data, UNHCR regional head for Mexico Giovanni Lepri noted that the country has become a "very solid option" for refugees due to its high labor needs. This has led American, Mexican and U.N. officials alike to advocate for more regional cooperation to encourage migrants to settle in Mexico as well as in other countries in Central and South America like Costa Rica and Colombia to deter migration attempts to the United States.

Arturo Rocha, the migration director of Mexico's foreign ministry, stated that the government seeks to expand work visa programs and connect employers with job-seeking migrants, especially amid the anticipated growth in "nearshoring," where companies relocate to Mexico to be closer to U.S. customers. Mexico also works with Guatemala to bring up to 20,000 workers annually, with plans to extend the program to Honduras and El Salvador.

Furthermore, the U.N. program, instrumental in the successful relocation of refugees within Mexico, provides cash grants and assistance with job placements, daycare, schools, and healthcare. In 2022, the program facilitated job placements for 5,500 refugees, and in 2023, nearly 3,000 have already found employment.

Refugees finding peace and stability in Mexico

Refugees, seeking safety and employment opportunities in other countries, also found peace and stability in Mexico.

Among them is Walter Banegas, a 28-year-old Honduran who recently found stability and a job at Pace Industries, a metal casting manufacturer based in Michigan with plants in both the U.S. and Mexico.

Banegas, who initially fled to the U.S. as a teenager to escape from being possibly recruited by a powerful drug gang, faced deportation in 2014 and again in 2020. In 2021, he decided to seek refuge in Mexico. He was quickly granted refugee status back in January with the assistance of the U.N., and Banegas permanently relocated to Saltillo in northern Mexico and secured a position at Pace Industries. Despite earning less than he anticipated in the U.S., Banegas said he is content and is even able to send a portion of his income back to support his family in Honduras.

"I feel at peace here. It's not necessary to go to the United States. You can also get ahead here, in Mexico," Banegas stated.

Fernando Hernandez, 24, another Honduran refugee, echoed this sentiment. Hernandez initially planned to make it to the U.S. through Mexico with his partner and young daughter, but after witnessing tragic incidents along the U.S.-Mexico border on social media he decided to stay in Mexico. His asylum application was approved in February, and with assistance from the U.N., he was able to relocate himself and his loved ones to the northern city of Monterrey.

Hernandez, now employed in a variety of roles, initially started working at a convenience store and eventually transitioned to a factory before becoming a cook at a P.F. Chang's restaurant, earning a weekly income of about $225. Reflecting on the move, Hernandez said, "Here we have everything: a house, food, and family. I couldn't ask for more."

As refugees like Banegas and Hernandez find stability and success in their new lives, Mexico's reputation is evolving from a transit point to a destination for those seeking refuge and a chance at a better future.

Visit for more stories about the migrant influx in the United States.

Watch this segment from "The Five" on Fox News about migrants rejecting sanctuary cities.

This video is from the NewsClips channel on

More related stories:

Venezuelan migrant family regrets coming to the U.S. as American Dream becomes too difficult to reach for illegals.

NO MORE AMERICAN DREAM: Illegals are leaving “sanctuary city” Chicago due to harsh living conditions.

VIDEO: Migrants cheer aboard packed train rolling toward the U.S.-Mexico border.

ISIS-affiliated smuggler helped migrants illegally enter the U.S. via Mexico.

Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel threatens fishermen in hostile attempt to take over the jellyfish industry of Santa Clara Gulf.

Sources include:

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