To this Mexican businessman, investor visa program offered chance to fulfill company's 'potential'
A framed poster that hangs in Antonio Palacios' North Texas home features words the Mexican businessman has come to live by: "Your life begins when you get out of your comfort zone."
And that mentality is why the 55-year-old decided a few years back to pursue the EB-5 immigrant investor visa, which allows participants to access green cards in exchange for investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in American development projects.
The visa offered what Palacios saw as the only realistic path to expanding the reach of his technology company, Telnorm.
So he invested $500,000 through the EB-5 program in the NYLO Hotel in Dallas' Cedars neighborhood. And Palacios, his family and his business have now made the transition to America from what was a comfortable lifestyle in Mexico.
"It's a big decision," said Palacios, whose company operates as Teltech in the U.S. "But we saw the potential."
His story serves as a reminder that there are real people behind the oft-contentious debate over the EB-5 program.
Some policymakers, uncomfortable with the idea of putting green cards up for sale, want to get rid of the program altogether. Others, pushing for an overhaul, point to a lack of transparency and the gaming of key designations known as "targeted employment areas."
Palacios said he understands those concerns.
But he said the EB-5 visa was necessary to provide long-term certainty before he and his family made such a leap of faith. He added that his business-oriented move has had a multiplier effect since it also brought investment through his company's needs for office space, logistics and staff.
"It's not only the EB-5 money," he said.
And Palacios stressed that the program can offer benefits beyond development dollars.
"The people who really do something are the people who go out of their comfort zone," he said. "When you take good people out of their comfort zone and put them in a good environment, they would do a lot of good things."
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