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New report lists McAllen as one of leading metros for immigrants to start a business

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A report by the New American Economy lists McAllen as one of the leading areas in the country for immigrants to start a business.

Originally from Singapore, Kish Mansinghani came to the U.S. in 1968.

“I saw a land of opportunities, and so being sons of traders, we went into our business of our own,” Mansinghani said, who owns a perfume store in downtown McAllen.

The report states that immigrants are more than twice as likely to be entrepreneurs in the McAllen area. 

Dan Wallace with the New American Economy says immigrants in the McAllen metro area have about $3.7 billion in spending power.

“So that's money that they can spend at local businesses, supporting U.S.-born business owners as well as foreign-born business owners and they also pay about a billion dollars in taxes every year," Wallace said.

The report relies on 2019 data from the American Community Survey, and doesn't specify whether the immigrants mentioned are legally in the U.S. or undocumented.

Due to the border only being open for essential travel into the U.S., the downtown area in McAllen can still feel the toll from the lack of business.

"They come here to shop. But they can't come in, only the residents and the citizens because of the COVID," Mansinghani said. 

Mansinghani says he's not surprised by the numbers from the report, but says that the pandemic has changed everything. With sales often at a standstill, he hopes one day visitors from the other side of the border may be able to one day come back.

"We are trying to thrive and hopefully we will,” Mansinghani said. “We've been for 11 years, hopeful(ly), 11 more years."

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