Posted on May 25, 2011

Wealthy Mexicans Are Increasingly Investing in the U.S. to Escape Cartel Violence

Teke Wiggin, FoxNews, May 21, 2011

Mexican businessman Juan Jose Pardo had finally seen enough of the drug killings in his country, and was increasingly worried over the safety of his wife and two children.

{snip} Pardo is one of a rapidly increasing number of wealthy Mexicans to who are attempting to escape the violence by investing $500,000 or more in American business projects–thereby earning legal and permanent residency status in the U.S.

“It appears to be the easiest way to get your papers so you can immigrate,” said Pardo, who manages a clothing center and tourism company in Mexico City.

Members of the Mexican elite are filing for EB-5 visas, which can grant the well-heeled financiers and their families green cards in exchange for investments in projects demonstrated to create or sustain 10 U.S. jobs.


Mexicans last year made up a small fraction of EB-5 applicants–who are approved around 75 percent of the time–with just 34 filings, according to the U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services.

By contrast, more than 1,200 Chinese applied for the visa. {snip}


And Mexican politicians argue the migration of Mexico’s biggest spenders could deal a serious blow to its economy–possibly spurring even more illegal immigration to the U.S. The regional center program, launched in 1993, is set to expire in September 2012.

But Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, pointing to projects in his state like two EB-5-financed ski resorts as indications of the program’s success, is sponsoring a bill to permanently charter it. “Making the EB-5 program permanent should receive bipartisan support,” Leahy said at a March press conference.

Meanwhile, Pardo–who plans to invest in CMB, an organization of two regional centers overseeing projects in and around U.S. military bases–will bide his time in Mexico City as he waits to hear whether his initial EB-5 filing is approved. He applied at the beginning of the year but probably won’t hear for months to come.