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McAllen and Other Border Towns Trade With Mexico

Updated on August 23, 2018
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Ms. Inglish is successful at employment & training, with regional records of tens of thousands placed and retained in gainful employment.


McAllen rates at Number 4 Cheapest Place to Live in America and is the first city named as an Inland Foreign Trade Zone in the US, followed by many others.

Borderplex Trade vs. the Federal Government

Back in 1973 McAllen, Texas became the first non-seaport Inland Free Trade Zone established in America. By mid-2018, hundreds of cities became FTZs and dozens along the US-Mexico border enjoyed increasing Mexican trade.

The proposed southern border wall demanded by new US President Donald Trump during his campaign and first year in office was not appetizing to the cities along the border, known collectively as Borderplex. They would loose revenue if the concrete and steel boundary was constructed.

Today, McAllen enjoys explosive growth and the near-constant addition of new and beautiful buildings in our city.

— website; 2012

Nature of the McAllen Borderplex

Borderplex, or McAllen Borderplex, is a kind of Tex-Mex metropolitan area that includes cities on both sides of the Rio Grande on the US southern border at Texas. It contains communities in both the USA and Mexico. The residents of Reynosa in Mexico and its surrounding smaller towns travel regularly into McAllen, Texas to purchase goods and services, boosting the Texas economy..

A metroplex census and labor-statistics area in America is an area comprised of more than one large city. The McAllen Borderplex represents two large cities, but Hidalgo TX is also a part of this larger entity.

Other American cities are parts of other Borderplexes in American. This includes Laredo, Texas and certain cities in New Mexico.

Major Large Businesses

During the late 20th and early 21st centuries, the McAllen Borderplex economy has shifted from agriculture to international trade, healthcare, retail, and tourism, especially among these top employers:

  1. Edinburg Regional Medical Center: Education & health services jobs of at least 3,000 workers needed. Employee turnover and new jobs creation increases this number. Even though some Americans travel across the border for healthcare, some Mexicans cross the other way to this installation.
  2. University of Texas Pan American: Nearly 3,000 employees.
  3. McAllen Medical Center: Education & health services: Nealy 3,000 employees.
  4. Hidalgo County Government: 2,500 workers.
  5. Doctors Hospital at Renaissance: Education & health services: 2,200 workers.
  6. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.: Retail stores maintain 2,000 employees total.
  7. South Texas College: 2,000 workers.
  8. U.S. Customs and Border Protection: Government: 1,800 workers and increasing.
  9. Rio Grande Regional Hospital: Education & health services employ 1,000 people.
  10. Mission Regional Medical Center: Education & health services employ 1,000.

Over 80 of the Fortune 500 global manufacturers have facilities in McAllen/Reynosa including Bissel, Panasonic, Eaton, Black & Decker, General Electric, Nokia, Johnson Controls, Sony, Whirlpool, West Bend and Drexel Meyer.

The area also includes call centers for companies such as T-Mobile,, Western Wireless, Ticketmaster, West TeleServices and Merkafon.

The Brownsville, McAllen and El Paso Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) have transformed over the past 20 years.

— Jesus Canas, Dallas Federal Reserve; January 2017
Click thumbnail to view full-size
World War II Memorial in McAllen Downtown McAllenAn Inca Dove. McAllen is part of the World Bird Center of nine locations.The Warrior, McAllen area.
World War II Memorial in McAllen
World War II Memorial in McAllen | Source
Downtown McAllen
Downtown McAllen | Source
An Inca Dove. McAllen is part of the World Bird Center of nine locations.
An Inca Dove. McAllen is part of the World Bird Center of nine locations. | Source
The Warrior, McAllen area.
The Warrior, McAllen area. | Source

The McAllen Borerplex is Economically Active

Some job seekers may not be aware of the existence of Borderplex, given the recent years of border wall-building and the focus on illegal immigration, but this border metroplex is active and even thriving.

The retail industry especially seems to be booming on both sides of the river, but more so in McAllen; with an abundance of sales and finance related jobs available in the Mexican portion of the metro area.

Higher paid jobs are available in McAllen, especially in growing fields of logistics, transportation, healthcare, and sales.

Interestingly, as of mid-January 2012, over three times as many jobs were open in the Reynosa portion of Borderplex as in the McAllen portion. While not common practice, some US workers are traveling to the Reynosa Area for work, but a working knowledge of Spanish is almost mandatory.

Immigration websites that explain moving from the USA to Mexico have indicated that visas and Mexican Passports are a matter of paperwork, fees, and waiting; and require no citizenship tests. However, these sites instruct users to contact employers in Mexico for jobs before attempting to move into the country. Also check on up-to-date crime rate information.

McAllen rates at Number 4 Cheapest Place to Live in America and is the first city named as an Inland Foreign Trade Zone in the US, followed by many others.

The work put into McAllen to build foreign trade has resulted in citizens of Reynosa traveling regularly into McAllen.

Industrial parks offer many spaces for business, followed by many new jobs around the border crossings.
Industrial parks offer many spaces for business, followed by many new jobs around the border crossings. | Source
Simon Sez concert bar in McAllen
Simon Sez concert bar in McAllen | Source

McAllen Foreign Trade Zone

The McAllen Foreign Trade Zone website defines this zone in this way:

A Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) is an isolated, policed, and enclosed area that is in or adjacent to a port of entry and is considered outside customs territory of the United States.--

The site goes on to explain what can be done in such a zone:

Merchandise admitted into a foreign trade zone may be assembled, manufactured, manipulated, sorted, repaired, cleaned, inspected, distributed, repacked, and destroyed.

As the first US inland foreign trade zone not involving a sea port, McAllen feels that the free enterprise in which they have been involved since 1973 is unmatched anywhere else globally.

A total of at least 410 companies from 42 nations has settled in McAllen as of January 2012. Therefore, the McAllen FTZ is constantly looking to expand to fill more of its offices and warehouse spaces, using incentives on taxes, duties, and tariffs.

Across the border, McAllen FTZ opened FTZ Logistics S. de R.L. de C.V. in Reynosa successfully in 2008. Transportation and logistics services in the borderplex has increased since 2008, even through the Great Recession.

Advantages in the Borderplex

McAllen is a fairly large metro area, with over 830,000 residents in 2014, according to federal and local statistics and Sperling's Best Places.

Average home values increased every year from 2011 through 2018, but median home cost is only $127,000, compared to much higher costs elsewhere in the state.

Unemployment is less than the national average and job growth has continued through the Great Recession and through 2018.

The Cost of Living Index in McAllen is 81 overall, much lower than the national average.

Major Hiring Companies on the US Side

  1. Universal Health Services
  2. CRST Trucking
  3. CR England Trucking
  4. HCA HEalthcare
  5. Schneider National - Trucking
  6. Rio Grande Regional Hospital
  7. Pizza Hut
  8. Home Depot, Dollar General, Dollar Tree, JC Penney, PetSmart, Burlington
  9. Platinum Supplemental Insurance
  10. United Planning Group
  11. McDonald's, Taco Bell
  12. South Texas College
  13. Countrywide Therapy

Highest Demand Jobs in McAllen

  1. CRST company Truck Drivers with CDL
  2. Retail Managers
  3. Sales Representatives
  4. Event Specialists
  5. Pizza Hut Employees - All levels, managers, crew, drivers.
  6. Insurance Agents - Insurance and Financial Products
  7. Retail Salespeople
  8. DISH Network jobs, various
  9. RN Licensed Nurses/Travel Nurses
  10. Physician Assistants, Including Nurse Practitioners

Higher Education and Training

McAllen Hidalgo International Bridge:
International Blvd, Hidalgo, TX 78503, USA

get directions

McAllen-Hidalgo International Bridge to Reynosa

Employment in Reynosa

Leading Companies Hiring on the Mexican Side

  1. Manpower: Temporary and temp-to-perm employment agency
  2. Indra Systems of Mexico
  3. Orgatour Administrative Services
  4. Randstad
  5. Adecco
  6. Arvato of Mexico
  7. 4Work
  8. Probecarios
  9. Temporary Services
  10. Osagui
  11. Human Dynamics Bureau
  12. Projection and Enterprise Administration
  13. GOH
  14. Pearson Personal Certification Company
  15. Services of Personal Communications
  16. MKT
  17. Solutions
  18. Halliburton of Mexico

Highest Demand Jobs in Reynosa

  1. Accountants, Auditors and Assistant Auditors
  2. Sales Executives; Account Executives
  3. Administrative Assistants and Executive Assistants
  4. Adjutant Generals
  5. Grocery Store Clerks and Managers
  6. Data Entry Operators
  7. Financial Advisors
  8. Sales Representatives
  9. Warehouse Jobs
  10. Messengers
  11. Retail Salespeople
  12. Security Guards

Job Listings in Reynosa

  • UNJOBS -- Reynosa

    News and information for Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico from the United Nations and other International Organizations, compiled by UNjobs Association of Geneva.

Monument of Progress in Reynosa.
Monument of Progress in Reynosa. | Source

Education and Training in Reynosa, Mexico

Impulsora Rio Grande, S.A. de C.V.

  • Antonio Rodriguez #613-A
    Reynosa, Tamaulipas C.P. 88620 Mexico
  • Phone: +52 924 5823

Independence College

  • Cerro de La Brenma 1234
    Las Fuentes Coloniales, Reynosa Mexico
  • Phone +01 899 995 5302

Mexican-America University of the North - Reynosa, Mexico; McAllen TX, other.

  • Guerrero Esq. Plutarco Elías Calles No. 1317 Colonia del Prado
    Reynosa 88560 Tamaulipas Mexico
  • Phone +52 899 922 2002

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Youth performing at the Reynosa Cultural Center and ParkThe cultural center.Sculpture/carving of Indigenous pyramid in the park.
Youth performing at the Reynosa Cultural Center and Park
Youth performing at the Reynosa Cultural Center and Park | Source
The cultural center.
The cultural center. | Source
Sculpture/carving of Indigenous pyramid in the park.
Sculpture/carving of Indigenous pyramid in the park. | Source


  • Ferman, M. Study details border cities showing benefits, challenges of trade. The Monitor; January 5, 2017. Retrieved March 18, 2017.
  • Livability in Texas. Retrieved May 19, 2018.
  • McAllen Economy. Retrieved May 21, 2018.

© 2012 Patty Inglish MS


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