The City of McAllen, Texas recently announced that wealthy Mexican investors may soon wish to contact the city and apply for U.S. citizenship.
The McAllen Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and McAllen City Commission have applied to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (CIS) to become a regional center for an investment program known as EB5.
EB5 allows those meeting the following requirements to apply for investor visas.
• Invest at least $500,000 if in an area of high unemployment (targeted area) or invest $1 million in a “non-targeted” area
• Invest that money into a U.S. company approved by the regional center
• The investment must result in the creation of at least 10 new jobs
• The investment cannot be made in gaming establishments, bars, or any industries that may be deemed unsavory or in bad taste
• The investor fills out an I526 form and it is submitted to CIS for review
• A third party verifies the money being invested is from legal sources
Once given the right to invest, the potential investor then has to go to the U.S. Consulate in Matamoros for an interview. If the investor passes the interview, the money is released from escrow to the corporation they have chosen to invest in.
President and CEO of MEDC, Keith Patridge said, “Partially what caused us to go after this EB5 Regional Center status is what is happening in Mexico and the fact that we have a lot of foreign people with money. Because of security reasons, these people are saying, ‘I’ve got to get my family out of here.’ They are looking for investment opportunities.”
Patridge said he and MEDC will do everything they can to ensure that the investor and their money are protected.
“If you do not have a good deal and you have an investor who gets stuck, they lose their visa and they have money tied up in a project that does not work. That is not what we want. We are really going to focus on doing everything we can to make sure the investor is protected,” Patridge explained.
Though CIS has not yet approved McAllen’s EB5 Regional Center status, Patridge and others have no doubt they will.