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Meet Salvador Zamora

Sal Zamora’s American Dream story is so unique, yet familiar to immigrant families across the United States. His father’s journey to the United States from Mexico is truly formative in his life and led him to the place he’s in today—a retired Border Patrol agent actively finding ways to support the American Dream.

“My father was born in Comala, Colima, Mexico. He immigrated to the United States in the early 60s and after a couple years of bouncing around and securing different jobs, he felt this drawing commitment to the country that had opened its doors to him. He then enlisted in the United States Army and served during Vietnam.” 

Sal Zamora

Listen to Sal Zamora’s American Dream story. 

“He was certainly the driving force of our family– teaching us about commitment to our country and serving its citizens. This is where my family’s legacy of service to America began; and now it is part of my DNA.  My father would say his time in the armed forces was the best way he could pay America back for all she gave him.”  

To follow in his father’s footsteps, Zamora joined law enforcement.  

“I decided to join the United States Border Patrol and served for 26 and 1/2 years. That was my contribution to this country.” 

During his long service in Border Patrol, he had his father’s words as a motivating factor every time he went out on patrol. He knew he was there to serve his country, just as his father did before him.  

“My father’s advice was pretty straightforward– it was ‘serve God with all your might, serve your country with all your smarts, and serve humankind with all your heart’. The Zamora family is probably best known for caring about this country caring about fellow citizens and working hard to preserve that right.” 

As a Mexican-American, Zamora was often faced with backlash from Mexican immigrants. He was often called a traitor, or asked to move around the rules for other Mexican immigrants because of his heritage. But, he took that conversation and turned it into a teaching moment, which he hopes has a lasting impact.  

“I took that opportunity to really explain to them that there’s a right way and there’s a wrong way.  The right way is through a port of entry, through the immigration system, and that management of the borders is essential for their protection as well as for the country’s protection.” 

Zamora recognizes that most migrants are here to seek better opportunities, in search of the American Dream.  

 “Financial instability and crime are global issues that prompts people to leave everything that they work for in search of a better life and achieve the American dream. It’s what my father did and it’s what hundreds of thousands of people are doing today.” 

When asked about his own American Dream, he sees opportunity and the freedom of choice as the focus.  

“My American Dream is much more than reaching a financial status or achieving socioeconomic success, its more aspirational and transformative in nature. It is achieving a level of moral character and spiritual richness that when shared with others, it changes their lives, it becomes contagious, so much so that it ultimately acts as the catalyst of mutual progress and sustained success for those involved. When my immediate family and friends and their immediate family and friends achieve mastery of these principles, then that’s when my American Dream becomes fulfilled.” 

Sal Zamora

However, Zamora’s American Dream goes beyond his own self-interest—it is also about helping others in any way he can.  

“My American dream is also helping you achieve your American Dream, and I think that’s the common thread of America sometimes we forget. It is helping one another prosper.”  

You’re invited to LEAD and share your American Dream story here.