Everything is bigger in Texas.
Even the city of Harlingen in the Rio Grande Valley grew 12.6% between 2000 and 2010, according to the latest census figures.
But for Mayor Chris Boswell, that isn't sufficient. "I definitely believe Harlingen?s population is undercounted," Boswell told the local Valley Morning Star newspaper.
In fact, the city just joined Cameron County, Texas -- the county in which it is located -- in a lawsuit against the U.S. Census Bureau challenging the new population count. Whether doing so is in the city's best interest is a strictly local issue, but the topic arose in an unusual context.
It seems the city decided to enter the lawsuit at the same time it approved formation of an EB-5 regional center. While the two issues wouldn't seem to to have anything to do with one another, that may not be the case.
As attorney Joseph McCarthy recently brought to our attention, it's possible that the census lawsuit could affect the city's ability to qualify as a TEA, depending on how the boundaries are determined.
At this very early stage in the process -- the city has merely approved establishment of the regional center -- it is unlikely that TEA designation is at the forefront of the commissioners' minds.
On the other hand, it's also possible that they're well aware of the city's potential TEA designation and expect to qualify for it regardless.
But if the census lawsuit is successful, and through its success Harlingen can no longer claim TEA status, it would be an unusual moment for the EB-5 immigrant investor program and would make it more difficult for the city to woo investors.
With a TEA designation, Harlingen would be a more competitive player in the regional center marketplace.
Without it, investing in Harlingen will be twice expensive for the prospective immigrant investor.