Presented by

Atlantic Documentaries

A Secret at the Border

Feb 14, 2020 | 92 videos
Video by The Atlantic

Raul Rodriguez was proud to be a border agent. For nearly two decades, he had searched for people and drugs hidden in cargo before it entered the United States. In his years of service as a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer, he’d initiated the deportations of thousands of people. His job gave him security and a sense of purpose.


One day, in 2018, that all came crashing down. Investigators came to Rodriguez’s office in McAllen, Texas, to tell him his career in immigration—and his military service before that—was based on a lie. His United States citizenship was fraudulent. He was an undocumented immigrant himself.


In a new documentary from The Atlantic, Rodriguez reveals the shattering impact that this discovery has had on his life. “I can relate to people who I turned back, people that I deported,” he says. “They call it karma.”


For more, read Jeremy’s Raff’s article, “The Undocumented Agent.”


A version of this story appears on This American Life. You can hear it on public radio stations this weekend, and online Sunday, February 16 at 8 p.m. ET.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.

Author: Jeremy Raff

About This Series

Original short documentaries produced by The Atlantic