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      Mexican nationals shopping in the Valley lower local property taxes

      A simple stroll down the parking lot will tell you how far some many La Plaza Mall shoppers have traveled to do some holiday shopping.

      That TMs why I couldn TMt find a parking spot, because of all the Mexican nationals, said shopper Ruby Esquivel. But it TMs good that they come here, it helps out.

      Some local residents avoid shopping centers on the weekend because so many Mexican nationals travel to the Rio Grande Valley to shop.

      According to Nancy Malar with the McAllen Chamber of Commerce, their dollars cut each property owners taxes by $900 each year.

      "As they come in they are not only helping the retailers directly, but they are also helping the city by generating sales tax," Malar said.

      Many of the nationals travel hundreds of miles to shop in the Valley, but in 2009 cities like McAllen saw a huge decrease in their numbers.

      Many attribute that drop to border violence.

      "They were really keeping away for a while because it was so dangerous," Malar said.

      Now, many have returned and new comers are also making the trip.

      "It's the first time we traveled to the United States, shopper Alejandro Morales said. We wanted to see if it TMs true that you can get great deals here."

      Morales is from Tampico, Tamaulipas.

      He spent Monday shopping in downtown McAllen with his son.

      He said he brought more than a $1000 to spend during his three-day stay.

      Isabel Rodriguez with La Plaza Mall says shoppers like Morales have double the buying power of a local resident.

      "They buy a little bit more than they local shopper because they don't come that often so they usually come with lists of things for friends and families that they get back home," Rodriguez said.

      So next time you complain about the packed parking lots and long lines at the stores, remember the Mexican nationals are lowering you taxes.