A survey conducted in Ciudad Juarez, the Mexican border city opposite El Paso, found that 44 percent of foreign migrants there plan on staying in Mexico.
The survey found that the longer migrants have been away from home, the higher the likelihood of a migrant intending to stay. Among those who left their countries less than a month before, the figure was 38 percent, but among those who had been gone for more than six months the share rose to two-thirds.
The question presented to the 1,664 migrants between October 2018 and October of this year was: "Do you plan on staying in Mexico?"
About 44 percent responded in the affirmative. Nearly 70 percent of Cubans in Juarez said they planned on staying; many of them have already taken residence and jobs in Mexican border towns.
When specifically asked what they would do if their asylum application reaches an impasse, one-third said they would settle in Mexico, nearly 30 percent said they didn’t know, 20 percent would consider returning home, and just over 10 percent said they’d sneak across the border into the U.S.
The large majority of respondents were from Central America or Cuba.
Migrants who were remanded to Mexico under the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) were asked whether they were willing to work in the country, and 60 percent responded "yes".
According to Chihuahua College researcher Rodolfo Rubio Salas, part of the team that conducted the survey, the information has prompted the Mexican government to explore a program for the migrants to reside in the country and work. Such a program already exists, but is only for migrants who entered Mexico prior to January 1, 2017.
A Mexican government official said there are about 20,000 foreign migrants in Juarez, 16,000 of them returned under MPP, also called the Remain in Mexico program, wherein applicants for asylum in the U.S. are returned to Mexico to await their hearings, rather than being released into the U.S. The remaining 4,000 foreigners are waiting their turn to apply for asylum at the U.S. port of entry.