Why This Son of an Illegal Immigrant Became a Border Patrol Agent

Kelsey Harkness /

SAN DIEGO—Arturo Payan knew he wanted to go into law enforcement from a young age.

But he feared his father, an immigrant from Mexico who first came to the United States illegally, wouldn’t approve of his career.

“When I got into the Border Patrol, I thought my dad would be a little bit disappointed,” Payan, 63, told The Daily Signal.

Now retired, Payan tells the story of working along the U.S.-Mexico border in San Diego for nearly 25 years. Watch the video to hear his experience, and how he responded to those who criticized him for “arresting your own kind.”