Rebecca M. Olaguibel
Rebecca M. Olaguibel

MCALLEN, RGV – The City of McAllen has placed a McAllen EB-5 Regional Center kiosk inside La Plaza Mall for the month of March.

City leaders hope to attract the attention of foreign nationals who may visit the retail shopping center during Semana Santa, or Holy Week. The EB-5 Program, which is administered through the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services agency, allows foreign nationals to become U.S. citizens if they invest upwards of half a million dollars.

“We were really excited to be contacted by the leasing director at La Plaza Mall. We were offered this opportunity to have a booth and we took it,” said Rebecca M. Olaguibel, vice president of the McAllen EB-5 Regional Center.

“We will keep the booth open through the month of March. We expect a lot of traffic to the Mall during the month of March because it is Semana Santa, which is the Holy Week. Traditionally, it is Spring Break for Mexico. We expect thousands of visitors to the area to come in from Mexico. One of the destinations in McAllen is La Plaza Mall. We know we will get a lot of exposure.”

The McAllen EB-5 Regional Center is a program of the City of McAllen. McAllen City Manager Roy Rodriguez is president of the Center. The Center has already had one success – landing the Cambria Suites Hotel, which is currently under construction next to the McAllen Convention Center. Investment in the Cambria project came in part from Mexican nationals signed up through the McAllen EB-5 Regional Center.

“The Cambria Suites Hotel, already under construction at the McAllen Convention Center site, is not only going to generate jobs in the city of McAllen but McAllen gains an asset, we gain a hotel. What that means for the City is that hotel occupancy taxes will be generated, and, hopefully, we can offer a pathway to citizenship for foreign nationals that are looking to come in to the U.S.,” Olaguibel said.

A pamphlet available at the McAllen EB-5 Regional Center booth inside La Plaza Mall states: “The McAllen EB-5 Regional Center is committed to delivering a secure gateway to investors with the possibility of Lawful Permanent Residencies for their families through the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. Cambria Hotel & Suites, already under construction, is an approved McAllen EB-5 project.”

Asked if there is a minimum amount of money a foreign national has to invest under the EB-5 Program, Olaguibel said: “There is a minimum amount of money that has to be invested and all of those details we disclose to folks that are looking for that information. It is highly confidential and so if anybody is interested in it, we do an intake process, we take all of their information and get them started with the process. It is a USCIS program. The EB-5 Program is an economic development tool. We are excited to be a part of it and have our project under construction.”

In addition to being vice president of the McAllen EB-5 Regional Center, Olaguibel is also Retail and Business Development Director for the City of McAllen. Asked if her work with the Center keeps her busy, Olaguibel said: “It keeps me very busy. There is a lot of interest not only from domestic investors but international investors as well. These investors come from Mexico and beyond Mexico.”