“The biggest challenge being Hispanic and being a migrant worker, coming from a migrant family, was breaking that family cycle,” said Sergio Tinoco, Operations Officer with the U.S. Border Patrol.
“I had two jobs during my senior year and I didn’t have anybody that could relate to me and tell me that anything is possible,” he said.
Tinoco was born and raised in Weslaco, joined the Army in order to break the family cycle of picking crops and served for 10 years, which was hard on his family.
But when he became a border patrol agent, where he serves as Adjutant to the chief, his family took it worse.
“Just imagine how terrible that was for them, especially knowing that my grandfather had been deported several times when he was younger,” he said.
His grandfather eventually came back legally, but now Tinoco believes he has another challenge to overcome, the public’s recent perception of border patrol agents.
“We are just like anybody else in the Valley, we are not in any way, shape or form, evil people trying to hurt individuals, we’re not,” he said.
Despite the ongoing debate over immigration and the role of border patrol agents, people all over the country are inspired by Tinoco’s story., which he published in a book, hoping it will encourage students, soldiers and migrant workers like himself.
Tinoco also goes on book tours and serves as a motivational speaker.
Weslaco Independent School District uses Tinoco’s book for their Migrant Program.
He received several awards for his service in the Army, including a Foreign Medal of Honor from Germany, two National Defense Service Medals, two Army Commendation Medals, four Army Achievement Medals, Kosovo Campaign Medal, Armed Forces Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal and a NATO Medal.