In some regions, the battered U.S. economy is getting a boost from an unusual stimulus—investment from well-heeled Mexicans. Drug violence and gang-related kidnappings have led to an exodus of the wealthy in recent years, as Mexico’s businessmen increasingly seek safety north of the border. As industrial hubs such as Monterrey, Mexico’s third-largest city, watch their entrepreneurs pack, places like San Antonio, Texas, are welcoming a flurry of Mexican investment.
Pouring money into U.S. business projects, especially ones demonstrated to create American jobs, is, in fact, one of the speediest and surest ways to obtain U.S. work permits and green cards. The number of investment visas granted to Mexican citizens has grown 73 per cent between 2006 and 2010, according to the U.S. State Department. Though Chinese applicants still constitute the bulk of investors hoping to land on U.S. shores, rich Mexicans have become a much sought after source of capital in some areas of the southern United States. And though some in the States are questioning a system they say is “selling” residency rights to the wealthiest bidders, most don’t seem to mind Mexico’s new influx of designer sunglasses, private jet airplanes and, above all, job-creating money.