2014 Archives

Mexican professionals bringing ambition, startups to North Texas


The following is from the Dec. 14, 2014, edition of The Dallas Morning News. Expertise for this story was provided by James F. Hollifield, director of SMU's John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies; and Miryam Hazan, a Tower Center fellow; Pia Orrenius, a Tower Center fellow and senior economist for the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas; and Luisa M. del Rosal, director of Programs and External Relations for the Tower Center.

December 15, 2014

Mexico Bureau
The Dallas Morning News

Atop the W Dallas-Victory Hotel, Johnny Williams strides inside a ballroom packed with elegantly dressed young Mexican professionals, exchanging business cards and shouting into one another’s ears over pulsating music. He takes in the moment and smiles.

“I’m so enthused,” says Williams, president of the rapidly growing Dallas chapter of the Association of Mexican Entrepreneurs. “These are historic times, and here in Texas, North Texas, we’re right in the middle of something new and promising for both countries.”

That something is a growing influx of a new class of immigrants from Mexico — wealthy, well-educated and with ambition that knows no borders. Their presence is helping to transform Dallas into an increasingly important hub of North American trade and generating thousands of jobs in the region, according to the Dallas Regional Chamber.

In fact, since 2010 about 2,000 well-to-do Mexicans have brought their businesses to Texas or started new ones here, according to a Dallas Morning News analysis.<

Many of these immigrants are coming to North Texas, experts and immigrant leaders say. They are drawn by several factors, but key for many is its central location, a strong and diversified economy, a welcoming business climate and an advanced transportation infrastructure, including direct flights to about 20 Mexican cities. . . 

“The center of gravity, politically and economically, has been shifting to the Dallas-Fort Worth region,” said James F. Hollifield, director of the Tower Center for Political Studies at Southern Methodist University. “You have a number of Mexican elites who are making this region their base of operation.

“The integration we’re witnessing at the highest end of our two societies is transforming the relationship between our two countries,” he said.

The newcomers range from energy executives and legal, financial and real estate professionals to makers of beer, milk, cement and bread. Some left Mexico to escape security threats or to seek new economic opportunities. Some came to this area for a college education and stayed. Others saw Dallas as the key to penetrate the growing Hispanic market, which is increasingly becoming part of the mainstream.

Many, like Williams, are transnational migrants, commuting weekly or monthly between Mexico and North Texas.

To be sure, the arrival of newcomers to North Texas is a global phenomenon, with immigrants from across the world, particularly Asia and Canada. Yet Mexico, with its proximity and geography, is best poised to make an impact on North Texas, particularly when the newcomers have deep pockets, Hollifield and others said.

“We’re talking about a new migration, legal, qualified, more high-end,” said Miryam Hazan, a fellow at SMU’s Tower Center and an expert on Mexicans in the United States. “And when it comes to the elite, few countries export more qualified, educated and wealthy people than Mexico.”

Read the full story.

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