Vince Vargas
Homeland Security

The stories that you hear about the border from mainstream media might not be showing the full picture. If you want to know what’s really going on, it’s often best to go directly to the source.

Vince Vargas
Listen Now
Show Notes

Vincent “Rocco” Vargas is an Army veteran, former Border Patrol agent, actor, writer, and entrepreneur. He served three combat tours as an Army Ranger with the legendary 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. After leaving active duty, Vargas joined the ranks of the U.S. Border Patrol under the Department of Homeland Security in 2009. 

In recent years, Vargas discovered a passion for screenwriting and acting. He landed a major supporting role on the hit FX series “Mayans M.C.” – a spinoff of the popular show “Sons of Anarchy” – which he worked on for 5 seasons as an actor while also joining the writer’s room.

Today, Vargas proudly continues to serve his country as a Sergeant First Class in the U.S. Army Reserves. When not on duty, he runs Light the Fuse, Beteran, and enjoys staying active through Brazilian jiu-jitsu while being a dedicated husband and father to his eight children in Dallas, Texas.

“Border Patrol to me is probably the most patriotic law enforcement that we have in America. Those men and women have chosen to defend our nation and they are the first line defense against any kind of terrorist act.”

-Vincent Vargas

Key Takeaways:

  • Border Patrol’s Role: Border Patrol agents play a critical yet underappreciated role as patriotic defenders keeping America’s borders secure and serving as the first line of defense against terrorist threats. Their importance for national security is immense.
  • Reality vs Perception: There are major gaps between the reality of a Border Patrol agent’s daily duties and life on the frontlines versus the public’s perception shaped by misinformation and politicization. Vargas wrote his book to close these gaps.
  • Policy Impacts: Flawed policies and incentives exacerbated the border crisis, overflowing resources and limiting agents’ capabilities despite their best efforts. Resolving issues requires multilayered policy changes.
  • Ranger Combat Tours: Vargas brings unique experience from serving three combat tours as a U.S. Army Ranger. This firsthand experience of being on the frontlines against terrorist threats shaped his perspective on defending America’s borders.

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Order Vincent’s Book:


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[00:00:04] Vince Vargas: Look, Border Patrol to me is probably the most patriotic law enforcement that we have in America. Those men and women have chosen to defend our nation and they are the first line of defense against any kind of terrorist act. And so genuinely, the career field is such a valuable career that we need in America.

[00:00:27] Mark Divine: Hi, welcome to the Mark Divine Show. This is your host, Mark Divine. Stoked to have you here today. Thanks so much for your time. On the Mark Divine show, I like to explore what it’s like to be fearless by discussing people who are amongst the most inspirational, compassionate, resilient leaders and warriors in the world.

[00:00:43] Mark Divine: I speak to folks from all walks of life, people that I consider to be unbeatable. My guest today is another unbeatable warrior, former border patrol agent, Vincent Vargas, who’s releasing a new book or just released a new book called Borderline. Vincent was born and raised in San Fernando Valley. In his early years, he was a [00:01:00] college baseball player.

[00:01:01] Mark Divine: He left that to serve his country in the U. S. Army, served three combat deployments with the 2nd Battalion of the 75th Ranger Regiment. After the Army, he transitioned to Reserves, where he continues his service today, and then took on a new challenge in 2009 to become a federal agent with the Department of Homeland Security in the Border Patrol.

[00:01:18] Mark Divine: As a boar star, they call it agent, he had the privilege of being attached to the special operations group. Later on, he became the proud owner of Bitterin, Light the Fuse Wellness, and other ventures. And then the world of entertainment beckoned, so he’s involved in a spin off of Sons of Anarchy called Mayans M.

[00:01:35] Mark Divine: C. as an actor and a writer. Vincent is blessed to be married and a father to eight kids who make their home in Dallas, Texas. Before I get into the show, I wanted you to know that I’m opening up slots for our unbeatable coach certification and our unbeatable team for 2024. The unbeatable team is an amazing year of transformational training.

[00:01:53] Mark Divine: It’s where I direct my full attention and time in coaching and training. I don’t do it anywhere else. It’s here [00:02:00] in the unbeatable team that I can give my full attention to help. Those deeply committed to transforming to become uncommon in a world that you know is rapidly collapsing into fear, moral relativism, and mediocrity.

[00:02:11] Mark Divine: We meet virtually every month as a team. Come together four times during the year for three days of powerful in person training and practice. And I’m here to help you break through any barriers and to crush all of your goals for 2024. So if you’re ready to go deep with me and willing to do the work, I can guarantee amazing strides will be made.

[00:02:29] Mark Divine: Go to unbeatableteam. com and unbeatablecoaching. com to learn more about these unbeatable events. Now, back to

[00:02:37] Vince Vargas: the show.

[00:02:41] Mark Divine: Vince, I was excited to see that I had this opportunity to chat with you. A fellow brother in arms, 75th Ranger Regiment, Border Patrol, man, so many fascinating things happening on the border in the last few years. Yeah, absolutely. Can’t wait to talk about that. So what I always like to do is kind of like give you an opportunity [00:03:00] to give us a little bit of the origin story.

[00:03:02] Mark Divine: Like where are you from? You know, what were your parents like? What were some of the early kind of influences that began to shape this life that you call yours? You know, and then we’ll get into some other stuff.

[00:03:11] Vince Vargas: I’m originally from Los Angeles, California, in the city of Colts, San Fernando. My parents both moved there.

[00:03:17] Vince Vargas: My mother, you know, she was born in, in El Paso, a small city in El Paso, a little small little town called Canutillo, and she moved to LA around 18. My father moved to LA around 14 from the Bronx, New York. He’s a Puerto Rican kid. And, you know, he got himself into some trouble early on with gang violence.

[00:03:35] Vince Vargas: And back then it wasn’t shooting type gangs. It was more like a, he had a pipe and a fight protecting his, you know, whatever, his honor. And, you know, the judge gave him an opportunity to join the Marines instead of go to jail. And so he went to the Marine Corps. And so, yeah, I was raised by a really tough Vietnam era, but he missed the war.

[00:03:54] Vince Vargas: They, they ended before he got out of basic training. It was a good upbringing. He was a very stern kind of [00:04:00] individual. He kept, he active in sports. So that I wouldn’t find myself into the gang life that, that LA was so famous for, if you will. Since I was four years old, I played baseball and really baseball is kind of took over my life all the way until I went to college and played ball

[00:04:15] Mark Divine: as well.

[00:04:16] Mark Divine: You played ball in college. Good for you. Where’d you go to college?

[00:04:19] Vince Vargas: first was a community college named Glendale Community College and then, went to a Kentucky college in Brescia University, called Brescia University, is a NAI college for baseball. You

[00:04:29] Mark Divine: were recruited to play baseball there. Kentucky is a long way away from LA.

[00:04:32] Mark Divine: Oh

[00:04:32] Vince Vargas: yeah, yeah, yeah. It was a whole new world for me.

[00:04:37] Mark Divine: I bet it was. So Tell us about the transition. Did you go into the army after college right away, or what was,

[00:04:44] Vince Vargas: what was next? I, lost my full ride scholarship. I was academically ineligible. At that point, I had a daughter on the way as well. You know, I’ve always wanted to be a parent.

[00:04:53] Vince Vargas: Didn’t bother me being a dad, but I didn’t have anything financially support her. So, the only thing I can think of that [00:05:00] would, kind of, I guess answer a lot of questions for me was joining the military, you know, it’ll give me some kind of purpose after baseball, it’ll give me, you know, a paycheck so I can support my daughter and it gives me a new mission.

[00:05:11] Vince Vargas: Went to the recruiting office and I joined as an army ranger option 40 contract infantry.

[00:05:16] Mark Divine: I didn’t know you could do that. That’s interesting. But I guess, I mean, the SEALs, you can get a, a contract, you know, if you qualify to go to BUDS. So it makes, it’s similar to that, huh? So you’re kind of guaranteed a shot.

[00:05:25] Mark Divine: Yeah,

[00:05:25] Vince Vargas: exactly. It’s called option 40. You, you have ranger to contract. As long as you pass basic training, then you pass airborne, you go straight to RIP, which at that time was called ranger, indoctrinal program. Now it’s called ranger assessment selection program. If you pass all those, yeah, you’re going straight to battalion.

[00:05:41] Mark Divine: Tell us about that training and what were some of the big insights or lessons from

[00:05:46] Vince Vargas: ranger training? I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I was just excited to join the military. I knew that if I made it to Ranger Battalion, it would be less time in combat and surrounded by a bunch of like hardcore chargers.[00:06:00]

[00:06:00] Vince Vargas: You know, at the time, Ranger Regiment went overseas from three to four months, sometimes six months depending, but that would be considered a long tour. So. Having my daughter in my life. I want to try and find more time with her. So I thought it would be the best decision for me. They

[00:06:13] Mark Divine: don’t tell you the rest of your time is spent training off

[00:06:16] Vince Vargas: everywhere.

[00:06:16] Vince Vargas: Yeah. I didn’t know the rest of the story. And so going through the training, it was always on my mind. Like I want to be home my daughter and I want to make her proud. And so my biggest push was don’t quit so I can get through batallion, and also that she’ll be proud of me one day. I was surprised. I was surprised that when I took to military really well, I was athletically, you know, inclined to be able to run and do pushups and sit ups.

[00:06:39] Vince Vargas: And so like the physical aspects of it wasn’t a challenge as much as mentally like seeing how far I could get pushed. I had no idea if I had the quit button. I had never been pushed hard enough in life. Hardest thing I did before the military was hell week in football. I think I surprised myself as I kept getting through the training and I kept graduating and I was like, Oh, yeah, Okay, well, maybe [00:07:00] this is something I’m decent at.

[00:07:01] Vince Vargas: And then, you know, eventually when I graduated, I, like I said, the hardest part was probably the academic side if anything. There’s, you know, written tests and surprisingly Ranger Regiment has a written test. Yeah, isn’t a

[00:07:13] Mark Divine: battalion different than the 75th is. It’s SOCOM, but you can, battalions are in the regular army, right?

[00:07:19] Vince Vargas: So if you have the option 40 contract, that is for ranger battalion. That’s the 75th ranger regiment. That’s the 75th, okay. What most people probably don’t understand how it works is, is you can go there as a private and not have a ranger tab yet. Once you get to ranger regiment, you actually have to earn your way to go to ranger school.

[00:07:37] Vince Vargas: And that’s showing that you’re mature enough, passing certain PT tests. And as well as at this time was getting a combat deployment under your belt. And so when I got there, it was just waiting my time for, you know, the long list of privates ahead of me. I had to beat them out as well as I had to get a deployment under my belt, and that would open me up for the option of going to ranger school.

[00:07:54] Mark Divine: Wow. Okay. That’s interesting. So you had to have a combat deployment in order to actually go to ranger school. [00:08:00] So you actually had some skills by then. Yes, sir. There’s a lot of people at ranger school who don’t have combat experience though, right? Because you can go

[00:08:06] Vince Vargas: there from the regular army. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:08:08] Vince Vargas: I got in ranger school and you know, I’m a PFC. I’m an E3. I had. Two combat deployments already, you know, I show up there and I have a lot of. Officers who were straight out of OCS and yeah, I was showing them how to manage the guns and they thought well, what rank are you? Are you a sergeant first class like, no, I’m a PFC, I was a nobody, I’m just, I’m a young dude, I just had a lot of experience.

[00:08:30] Vince Vargas: I

[00:08:30] Mark Divine: almost went to ranger school, but this is 1990 and so we ended up jockeying up to go over to desert storm, so that kind of bumped it and then I never got around to it, but I had a lot of friends just like these other guys I’m talking about who went from buds. And then they’re hanging around the team and the CO is you slipknot, you know, you’re going to ranger school, a bunch of SEALs go to ranger school just because, it’s good training, you know, another kick in the jimmy was good training.

[00:08:58] Mark Divine: We don’t really get that kind [00:09:00] of lerp type nav training in the SEALs. I mean, more so nowadays, not

[00:09:04] Vince Vargas: when I was in. You know, they kind of prepare you for, for a long time and you do a lot of like preschools to try and understand it. Really, Ranger School is about 63, 64 days, it’s three different phases, and the whole point of it is to teach leadership.

[00:09:18] Vince Vargas: It’s managing your men in some of the most austere environments. They, they haven’t slept much, they haven’t ate much, and you gotta get them to make good decisions on an objective. And during the time you’re in Ranger School, you’re doing things like raids, and you’re doing ambushes. And it’s such a long days and, and so little food that it’s easy for guys to fall asleep, like mid mission and completely ruin the whole mission.

[00:09:41] Vince Vargas: And so it’s, it’s really learning how to manage people at their hardest moments.

[00:09:46] Mark Divine: They just rotate leadership

[00:09:48] Vince Vargas: positions. Yeah. They just keep rotating them. It’s once you’ve got your go, they call it, then you sit back and now you’re just one of the guys. And if you get a no go, then they can recycle you or they give you another option or another chance and it’s [00:10:00] a challenge, you know, guys, they’re tired, they’re hungry, they haven’t slept forever and, and when it’s not their day getting graded, like they could care less sometimes about how well they perform, you know, and so that’s the challenge is getting these guys motivated for you when, when you need them to.

[00:10:15] Vince Vargas: It was one of the best leadership schools I’ve ever been to, and I’ve learned a lot about myself and, and how much I can endure, but as well as how to manage people in, in those kinds of environments. And so it was a blessing. It was a really fun school. I enjoyed it. Is there a lot of attrition? Oh, absolutely.

[00:10:29] Vince Vargas: At ranger school, there is. It’s one of those schools, just like a, almost like a selection. Classes started like biggest 200 people and then by the end of it, you know, maybe graduating a group of 60.

[00:10:38] Mark Divine: Yeah, that sounds cool. I wouldn’t really want to do it now in my life, but I kind of wish I had gotten that chance way back when.

[00:10:45] Mark Divine: Would have been good for my land nav skills, which were definitely a little bit lacking. My enlisted guys used to laugh. They’re like, sir, you know, you’re going to stick to leadership and you’re going to leave the land nav to us. They’re like,

[00:10:56] Vince Vargas: check. Well, now you have GPS, which [00:11:00] changes everything. That’s right.

[00:11:01] Vince Vargas: That’s

[00:11:01] Mark Divine: right. It’s a game changer. So tell us about your combat experience and, and you know, kind of what was that like? Where’d you serve and

[00:11:07] Vince Vargas: highs and lows there? My first tour was in Afghanistan and it was a pretty mild deployment. It was really Learning as much as I possibly can being the new guy, you know, at the time.

[00:11:16] Vince Vargas: You don’t hear that very often,

[00:11:17] Mark Divine: by the way. Yeah, I was, I was in Afghanistan as a Ranger and it was pretty mild. Most people won’t believe you. Yeah.

[00:11:23] Vince Vargas: Well, it’s funny. It was mild compared to like my next deployment to Mosul in 2005, which was like comparably, it was, it was a good deployment to understand what was going on.

[00:11:33] Vince Vargas: It was, I got into Ranger Battalion and I was deployed within 45 days. And so. It was a lot to take in as a new, soldier in the military, just to be with under a year, you’re already overseas. There was a lot of learning that had to happen. You know, we had some really good missions. I learned a lot and I was ready to see what was next.

[00:11:52] Vince Vargas: after that deployment, I had an option to go to Ranger school, but I already heard that we had Iraq next. And, you know, part of the platoon, I didn’t [00:12:00] want to see them go without me. So I opted to just go to the deployment instead of ranger school. And that was Mosul and Mosul was one of the, the hottest areas at the time.

[00:12:10] Vince Vargas: You know, it was sect to Fallujah was a big one. Then now Mosul was and a lot of action happening, you know, a lot of, you know, we walked away with a lot of purple hearts and very successful deployment. What

[00:12:20] Mark Divine: was the primary mission for you? Hunt and capture.

[00:12:23] Vince Vargas: Kill and capture. And we were doing TST missions, so time sensitive target missions, most of the time.

[00:12:28] Vince Vargas: And then the days off, we were GRF for guys like Delta and whatnot. And so, we were actively doing missions. And the way the missions were was really cool that you would think you’d do one mission in a day and it’s done. no, we were doing six missions, six different targets. Yeah. Same with the teams.

[00:12:42] Vince Vargas: Yeah. Yep. We’d bag them up, come in and start gathering more intel, boom, do another one. And it just would, it was all night. And so, yeah. We did a lot of damage in the four months we were there and it was a very successful deployment for us. You know, at some point I was very concerned about man, we keep getting hit, you know, it’s a numbers game when it’s going to be my time, [00:13:00] you know, but you lose anyone in your unit.

[00:13:01] Vince Vargas: No, we, we just took amazing. Yeah, we’re very, very blessed. Yeah, we, the vehicle in front of me blew up. We, they had an I. D. And I could have sworn when we popped the hatch of that strike, I thought Man, what’s going to be in here? And everyone was kind of balled up in pain, but they all survived. And we’re just like, man, it was a blessing.

[00:13:19] Vince Vargas: And then, one of our opportunities, they took a hand grenade and, three or four of them got hit with that grenade. But again, everyone survived. And so we had these instances that we were just like a lot of close calls and, and very fortunate that, we didn’t have anything worse than that. That’s amazing.

[00:13:33] Vince Vargas: Yeah. So in between that time, I went to ranger school. When I graduated ranger school, I had an injury. my brachial plexus nerve damage of my shoulder. So this right arm was dead at the time. And we weren’t sure if it was ever going to get feeling back cause the way nerves grow. And so I missed the next deployment.

[00:13:48] Vince Vargas: And in that deployment, we lost a few of our, our men. And that was a tough one. That was a tough one to know that I missed it. Those are some guys I looked up to. They were some of the best leaders in my career. And [00:14:00] unfortunately, I wasn’t there to hopefully assist and be a part of that, but I was a part of, you know, taking them to their final resting place.

[00:14:06] Vince Vargas: And so that was an honor. As much as that was hard, it was, I felt, I at least got that kind of closure for myself. You know, we lost a guy in training. One of my best friends, he was killed in a live fire training accident. That just unfortunately happens when you train like that. Sometimes shouldn’t, but things happen.

[00:14:23] Vince Vargas: And then my last tour was in Afghanistan again, and, you know, uptempo was big, but the weird thing about Afghanistan to Iraq for me was, Afghanistan was dry hole, dry hole, dry hole, boom, action. And it was different in Mosul, it was like always action, action, action. Iraq

[00:14:39] Mark Divine: was urban fighting and Afghanistan was more rural, right?

[00:14:41] Mark Divine: Yeah. And so you had longer distances to travel and like a single home versus a

[00:14:46] Vince Vargas: city block to clear. Yeah. It wasn’t uncommon to get dropped off by a helicopter and walk in seven clicks, you know, like that was typical mission for us in Afghanistan.

[00:14:53] Mark Divine: I mean, your injury obviously healed up for that. Yep.

[00:14:56] Vince Vargas: Yeah. It healed. And, you know, after losing those two men, you knew [00:15:00] you were

[00:15:00] Mark Divine: done after that deployment,

[00:15:01] Vince Vargas: before you went into it. It was time to go try something different. Got it. Okay.

[00:15:04] Mark Divine: Well, thank you for your service. All the listeners do as well. Any, Issues with post medic stress or you or some of your teammates?

[00:15:11] Vince Vargas: I didn’t even think about any of that because I was so busy trying to get another job and I had kids and I was so busy, I felt bad for leaving my friends. And I know they had Sergeant Petrie, he received the medal of honor shortly after I left in the next deployment. What he was doing was also with another private of mine that i’ve worked with and so like it was all connected i started to feel really guilty for leaving the team but more so i was so busy and i was drinking so often that i didn’t really acknowledge it until later on when i finally became a border patrol agent i knew okay cool i found the career i wanted.

[00:15:45] Vince Vargas: And so as I started kind of settling into that, cause life slowed down all of a sudden, I wasn’t in this panic and I started to realize these little things that would pop up would be certain smells that would remind me of Afghanistan or Iraq and, night terrors were starting [00:16:00] to happen more often. And, and I couldn’t, I didn’t understand.

[00:16:02] Vince Vargas: I was like, man, I didn’t feel like I had any problems for two, three years. And then all of a sudden, so I’m sober currently four and a half years now because I needed to manage that side of my life. I was using drinking to kind of cope. And heal and try and safeguard myself from having bad dreams and memories and so in the past 10 years, I’ve taken a big leap into the wellness and mindfulness to kind of heal that side of me.

[00:16:27] Vince Vargas: I took to writing as a therapeutic value and took to acting as therapeutic value. Yeah, it takes a

[00:16:31] Mark Divine: lot of self awareness to be a writer and an actor. And so in order, you know, emotional developments. Part and parcel, if you want to be good at it. Yes, sir. I could see what you’re saying there. For my generation, there was virtually nothing except for a broken VA, but it’s nice to see the support that’s now available for our brothers and sisters.

[00:16:50] Mark Divine: You know, there’s all sorts of organizations now, mostly nonprofit, but even the VA started to get their act together. Yeah. Right. And all these modalities, like you said, you can go to yoga retreats, you can do meditation, [00:17:00] you can do psychedelic therapies. EMDR. Yep. You know. I’ve tried them all. I have a foundation to help.

[00:17:05] Mark Divine: That’s called the Courage Foundation. And I don’t like to promote anything that I don’t have direct experience with. So I’ve been across the board in that stuff. Yeah. It works. You know, maybe everyone has to find their own path

[00:17:18] Vince Vargas: though, I think. Absolutely. Yeah. I’ve done the same thing. I consider myself a little bit of a guinea pig in, in attempting and trying many different modalities.

[00:17:25] Vince Vargas: Yeah. Yeah. Us special

[00:17:26] Mark Divine: ops guys are not afraid to be guinea pigs, you know. Because we were, for years. So tell us about, you know, I live down on the border, almost. I, actually, Coronado is practically right on the border. Yeah. We used to go across to Tijuana all the time, but not so much anymore. You know, it’s a little bit sketchy down there.

[00:17:44] Mark Divine: Yeah. So you were in the Border Patrol. Did you serve in Texas or Arizona or San Diego? Whereabouts were you?

[00:17:50] Vince Vargas: In the Del Rio sector, which is Del Rio, Eagle Pass and Comstock, kind of like, it’s

[00:17:55] Vince Vargas: just like a long list of them, but Del Rio sector is where I was at first. And then eventually [00:18:00] I transferred to SOG, the Special Operations Group out of Paso, Texas.

[00:18:07] Mark Divine: Okay. We’re going to take a short break here from the Mark Devine show to hear a short message from one of our partners. And now back to the show.

[00:18:17] Mark Divine: Tell us what that’s like. What was it like being a, an agent in the border patrol? What’s really going on besides, you know, what you read in the paper, you hear the political blabber is talking about.

[00:18:28] Vince Vargas: Look, Border Patrol to me is probably the most patriotic law enforcement that we have in America. Those men and women have chosen to defend our nation and they are the first line defense against any kind of terrorist act.

[00:18:39] Vince Vargas: And so, genuinely, the career field is such a valuable career that we need in the, in America. The problem is, and why I even wrote the book was, I was very tired of everyone giving their opinion on a subject that they had no information or no knowledge of. The world and the news addresses border patrol as [00:19:00] border control, or they identify, you know, the blue uniforms as border patrol agents, which is false, or, or they don’t know the difference between customs, border patrol, and ICE.

[00:19:09] Vince Vargas: They’re doing a disservice to the agency because they’re making assumptions and those assumptions have been detrimental to the morale of the border patrol. You see that daily where people blame the border patrol for everything, like they’re the reasons why this or they’re not doing their job, you know, and just like the sheriff’s department doesn’t determine the speed limit, you know, the border patrol doesn’t determine the policy.

[00:19:30] Vince Vargas: And so my goal in writing this book was to explain how policies are created, but as well as what the job day in and day out of the border patrol agent is. And for those who are listening, the job for a border patrol agent is to apprehend and process genuinely. So they stand in positions that are high viz, for deterrence, or they go cut sign or they look for tracks of people who’ve entered illegally in America outside of a port of entry.

[00:19:57] Vince Vargas: And so the goal was to explain the day in and [00:20:00] day out job, their job is to try and stop and slow down illegal entry into America. And once they do apprehend individuals, their job is to bring them in and process them under whatever policy is in place at that moment. It could be an executive order that changed the policies when we had Title 42 recently.

[00:20:19] Vince Vargas: It could be anything. So whatever it is in that sector, whatever the process is, that’s what they do. If the individuals themselves say, I’m here because of political asylum from my country, right? Okay, the Border Patrol agent is not the person who makes that determination. The Border Patrol agent just processed the paperwork, hands it off to ICE, and ICE manages what happens next.

[00:20:36] Vince Vargas: Eventually, those people will wait for an opportunity to see the immigration judge, for the immigration judge to make a determination of the case, but that’s not Border Patrol Agent’s job. And so, in the end of the day, my job was to, for writing this book, I felt like I wanted to continue to serve my country, and as someone who was a former Border Patrol Agent, who’s seen and who understands the career field, I felt that if I could put into words in a way [00:21:00] that’s digestible, Other people will start to really understand the foundation of what the border patrol does.

[00:21:04] Vince Vargas: And I think that will help enlighten the rest of the, the questions they have for how immigration is and why it is what it is today.

[00:21:12] Mark Divine: First off, are there a lot of Hispanics in the border patrol? Yeah. It would make sense to me, right? It must be kind of confusing for some of the dang it, you know? Yeah.

[00:21:22] Mark Divine: You should just let me go, buddy. You got the

[00:21:24] Vince Vargas: chance, right? Yeah. You definitely get a lot of. what’s going on, you know, we’re the same, you know, but it’s not, you know, I think it’s over 60, 70 percent of the border patrol is Hispanic of some sort and understanding why that is. I think people think that’s a conflict of interest and it’s not like we’re Americans, we’re American citizens and we want to continue to uphold the values of what America is and that means that there’s rules and in those rules means you have to enter into the country legally.

[00:21:52] Vince Vargas: It is a very good job and it pays very well compared to most law enforcement officer jobs. And so I have empathy for anyone [00:22:00] who wants to come and live in America because America is this great nation and they want opportunity, but that empathy only goes so far as for me to still do my job because I don’t know who anyone is who’s coming across the border who has bad intentions.

[00:22:13] Vince Vargas: And so the only answer for us is to stop everyone.

[00:22:16] Mark Divine: Yeah, I agree. Obviously, there’s the issue of drugs and fentanyl is such a big deal that’s coming across the border. But also, people are worried about, you know, jihadis and terrorists. Did you see any of that? Tell us about some of your

[00:22:28] Vince Vargas: experiences. Yeah.

[00:22:29] Vince Vargas: You know, I still do a lot of consulting for the Border Patrol right now. And I go down to the border and I kind of do observations and, and, and I work with a lot of the local law enforcement as well. And, you know, The concept of that, they call that exotics, right? So you have Mexicans who are from Mexico.

[00:22:44] Vince Vargas: You have other than Mexicans, anyone from south of the border. So very common, Hondurans or Guatemalans. Those are very common, you know, countries that come across illegally. But the ones who are not very common, we call them exotics. And those exotics are like [00:23:00] Afghanistan, right? Or African or Chinese.

[00:23:03] Vince Vargas: And Anytime you have an exotic, you really have to be concerned about the distance they traveled just to come through illegally. And that is a concern. That is someone who has money for one, you know, what’s their objective? Is it really just to come to America for the land of opportunity? Or is it more?

[00:23:18] Vince Vargas: Someone like me who has a tactical background, I see, you know, there’s a duality in this where people come across all the time because they want a better opportunity. Obviously, they have to go through the process that the policies are in place. But why? Why are some of these exotic countries coming in more so now than ever?

[00:23:34] Vince Vargas: The tactical side of my brain gets very concerned about what that looks like five years from now. I don’t fear monger this subject because, I think enough people already do. I do sit in a position who have seen the worst of things overseas, and I do get concerned about the numbers of exotic countries that are coming across illegally through the southern border.

[00:23:56] Mark Divine: What percentage are actually apprehended? Of all [00:24:00] illegals,

[00:24:01] Vince Vargas: it’s a, it’s a great question. I’ll say, you know, just the other day, we’ll just do it this way in the Del Rio sector. I believe they apprehended over 8, 000 illegal for the month. That’s

[00:24:11] Mark Divine: huge. And that’s just one

[00:24:13] Vince Vargas: sector, one area, one sector. Exactly.

[00:24:15] Vince Vargas: And that’s pretty extreme, but that’s the number. And then what they have listed for got a ways is what we call it. I believe it was in the thousands and it got away. How do you determine that? Well, that’s because I’ve been able to track the footprints all the way to maybe a road, and determine that those footprints don’t cross the road, so it’s only obvious they’ve been picked up at that road, and that’s only the ones that they’re counting.

[00:24:38] Vince Vargas: Yeah. When you say the border’s secure, right, or Mayo just said the border’s secure. What his definition of what our definition might be sparkly different slightly different, right? And so as much as yes, you have board relations on the line. Yes, you have everyone’s doing their job That doesn’t mean that just because you catch 20 here a hundred didn’t get away this way or that way, right?

[00:24:58] Vince Vargas: And so You know, I [00:25:00] would say there’s probably a good, and I’m going to be very vague here with 20%, probably get by with no one ever noticing. Do you think the

[00:25:06] Mark Divine: wall did and will help at all? Because they’re starting

[00:25:10] Vince Vargas: to rebuild it. There’s always been a wall. Like the misconception of build the wall, turn into a kind of a political argument, left and right, using it for their narratives or agendas.

[00:25:19] Vince Vargas: But there’s always been a wall. There’s always been a fence. I’ve always

[00:25:21] Mark Divine: seen one on the California side. I didn’t know how far it

[00:25:23] Vince Vargas: extended. Yeah, and it extends all the way. There’s, there’s different pockets of it. I believe. Having a, a wall is very valuable because it funnels traffic in areas where now agents can have easier options.

[00:25:35] Vince Vargas: The border’s vast and there’s areas that are so hard to manage. I’m talking two, three hours from anywhere. Those are the areas that deserve something that slows down traffic. And so the wall is valuable in that sense. And no matter what, people will find a way to get over it, under it, through it, and that’s fine.

[00:25:52] Vince Vargas: It just still slows down the traffic so we can do our best to get to it and apprehend who we can. You know, Hamas uses

[00:25:58] Mark Divine: a latticework of tunnels, right, [00:26:00] to get under Gaza Israeli positions and stuff. And I’ve heard there’s tunnels under the wall in certain areas. Is that a big issue?

[00:26:07] Vince Vargas: Absolutely. In certain areas is more than others.

[00:26:09] Vince Vargas: San Diego is infamous for having tunnels all under San Diego and you catch them as often as you can. But I was just in El Centro and there was a tunnel they just caught recently that Went from the wall about a mile in, into a, it goes into a house and there was a house that it would just, they would exit the house.

[00:26:27] Vince Vargas: And so it looks like just people coming in and outta the house and no, they’re using the tunnel. This is a com very common practice. And San Diego’s very well known for having tunnels all over the place.

[00:26:35] Mark Divine: Like what was the scariest thing that you had to deal with as an agent? Besides the bureaucracy?

[00:26:40] Mark Divine: Right,

[00:26:40] Vince Vargas: right, right. Managing any kind of drug smuggling cases. Those are all of a concern. I’ve done several, several busts of marijuana. In the time of marijuana was a big deal. Now it’s so, so different. A big bust, you know, 8, 000, 12, 000 pounds of dope. You’re always concerned if the [00:27:00] smuggler is carrying weapons, right?

[00:27:02] Vince Vargas: And during my time, we lost an agent named Brian Terry to a R. I. P. crews who were stealing the dope from drug traffickers. And you always have a concern when someone’s carrying drugs that they’re carrying a rifle. And so those are probably the most scariest interactions you have. I fortunately haven’t had that where every time I’ve interdicted with it, they’ve been able to scatter and they drop it and they’ve run back.

[00:27:21] Vince Vargas: And so there’s moments where you feel it’s close, you feel like you might have engagement, and then boom, it scatters and, and it goes away. There was a couple of times I’ve had failure to yields and those are high speed chases and, as much as those might be fun, those are also very intimidating because, who knows what ends up there.

[00:27:38] Vince Vargas: And so I didn’t, I had a failure to yield in the book I talked about that the vehicle was known for, smuggling firearms. And so when you get that call over the radio said vehicle known for smuggling firearms, you already know that. Okay. Well, they have firearms. And so you’re, you’re kidding up even better.

[00:27:53] Vince Vargas: You’re double checking, making sure you’re, you know, you’re, you’re locking and loading. And you’re like, here we go. In that scenario, [00:28:00] they ended up getting away from us because when you go through a school zone. Our rules are we have to slow down and eventually we found the vehicle and when we found the vehicles completely emptied.

[00:28:10] Vince Vargas: So whatever they had with them, they got away with it.

[00:28:12] Mark Divine: Is human trafficking an issue at the

[00:28:14] Vince Vargas: southern border? I think it’s more than an issue. I think that’s one of the biggest issues you have currently right now. When you think of Why? because drugs has kind of changed the landscape of drugs because marijuana has been legalized in several states.

[00:28:27] Vince Vargas: I think that’s changed. And so, what is a, the most valuable commodity currently is humans. And smuggling humans and trafficking humans is, is fairly easy compared to what you might think. That’s why when you saw the images years ago about separating kids from their parents, well, a big part of what we have to do is we have to investigate the scenario and if that is their parent in the first place.

[00:28:50] Vince Vargas: Part of that means you separate adults from children and you start to do the investigation. People don’t understand, well, most of those aren’t even their families. Those are, like, someone’s [00:29:00] paid them to transport them and who knows what happens. And half those females of age from nine to To even older, they had to take birth control so they don’t get pregnant on the way.

[00:29:10] Vince Vargas: It’s not if, it’s when they get raped. And so, very, very dangerous and unsettling concept, but that is the most prized commodity currently right now, is human trafficking. Are we making

[00:29:22] Mark Divine: a dent down there at all? Or is it a

[00:29:24] Vince Vargas: shitshow? I think what you see currently, it’s a little bit of a shitshow. Yes. And that is due to the fact of, we don’t have anything in place for the massive influx of immigration that’s happening currently.

[00:29:37] Vince Vargas: There’s nothing that we can do when you have a thousand people, ten thousand people come across the border. Who’s supposed to house them? Who’s supposed to feed them? Where are they supposed to go? We’re so backed up in our immigration process when it comes to seeing an immigration judge that they’re getting notice to appear as an NTA and saying, well, go to a sponsor’s house here in America and come back in six months, [00:30:00] 10 years, whatever it is.

[00:30:01] Vince Vargas: Right. I’ve heard there’s some up to 10 years right now. I’m not, I haven’t confirmed that, but then what those people are in America now doing whatever they want in the next, however many years until they have an immigration date to determine whether their case is valid or not. And so there’s nothing currently in place that can help fix this.

[00:30:19] Vince Vargas: They’re doing the best they can. Border Patrol agents are genuinely doing the best they can. And the immigration process is doing the best they can, but we’re only doing what the policies allow us to do and what the policies tell us to do. And so, in the event that people aren’t happy with the current situation, it comes down to who you vote, how you vote, and really understanding what policies you’re voting for.

[00:30:39] Mark Divine: As an insider and a consultant, what do you see the gap in policy, besides inaction? Inaction is inexcusable, and we’ve seen a lot of that, but if all of a sudden everyone, whoever’s in the current White House, or even, you know, future one, is okay, Vince, tell me how to fix this. What would you

[00:30:56] Vince Vargas: say?

[00:30:56] Vince Vargas: That’s a hard one, you know, because there’s not a one plus one [00:31:00] equals two answer. There’s no aha answer besides a multiple layered echelon approach to this. I’m talking, we need to one, have some kind of education going down south and explaining how immigration works legally. And explaining the, it’s the counter psychological operations to cartel saying they tell you this, here’s the truth.

[00:31:18] Mark Divine: Yeah, they need the leaflets to say, Hey, if you come into the border, it’s not going to go out, you know, he’s not going to go the way you want

[00:31:23] Vince Vargas: it to. So, you know, and I know how this works, but we need that. We need some counter intel. That’s going to be explaining the truth. We also needed, to not incentivize coming over illegally.

[00:31:34] Vince Vargas: We’ve incentivized that, and so now you have, well, you’re telling me I can just go, and they’re gonna give me food, they’re gonna give me money, they’re gonna give me a plane ticket, right? And so when you incentivize this, what do you think’s gonna happen? They’re just gonna call their friends and say, dude, come now, right?

[00:31:48] Vince Vargas: And I think there needs to be a stronger repercussion on those who can’t enter illegally. If you’ve broken the law, I believe, you know, there should be some kind of jail time. Even those who are claiming asylum have to be held accountable for breaking the law still, [00:32:00] right? And I know you’re claiming asylum, but there’s a process for that.

[00:32:03] Vince Vargas: And anytime you’re entering into America outside of the port of entry, you’re breaking the law. And so, There’s a long list of, things that need to happen. It’s a seven layer cake of, of decisions that need to be made. I think when we stop incentivizing illegal immigration, you’ll start to see a dent in that

[00:32:19] Mark Divine: already.

[00:32:20] Mark Divine: Politically, there doesn’t seem to be any appetite for that,

[00:32:22] Vince Vargas: unfortunately. I think it’s frustrating for a lot of people. I try not to get too angry on the subject because this is my subject matter expert position and I know a lot of morale in the Border Patrol is low at the moment because it feels sometimes that they’re handcuffed and not able to do their own job.

[00:32:37] Mark Divine: So is there any like other key takeaway from Borderline, the book that

[00:32:42] Vince Vargas: you’d like to share? Yeah, absolutely. The book itself was written to, for multiple reasons. I know the morale of the Border Patrol is a little low right now. And for them to see that they have a voice on the outside that supports them that believes in them is what the goal of the book is.

[00:32:55] Vince Vargas: It also is to hopefully be a big recruiting tool for the border patrol. For those who don’t [00:33:00] understand the career field, don’t know the levels of special operations you can do, things you can do in the border patrol that are just second to the military. Why wouldn’t you try the border patrol? So it’s a recruiting tool for the border patrol as well.

[00:33:10] Vince Vargas: And it’s a tool for those who really want to know more but just don’t. I’ve written it in a way that has digestible information. It goes down the path of my experience as a Border Patrol agent. It talks about all these little parts that most people wouldn’t understand. And I think it really explains the duality of Homeland Security and immigration policy and how we as a country want to have both of those to be successful for us as a country that is built on immigration, but we also have to be a country that protects our safety and our freedoms.

[00:33:38] Vince Vargas: And so it really breaks that down and explains it in a way that I think anyone can read this and enjoy and understand. And it really is my goal to tell the Border Patrol man that I love and respect what they do daily. And it is not unnoticed. Yeah, it’s important

[00:33:52] Mark Divine: work. Do you have a, like a, a special website you like people to go to to learn about the book?

[00:33:57] Mark Divine: Or do you just send them to Amazon or

[00:33:59] Vince Vargas: wherever? Yeah, you can [00:34:00] go to Amazon, you can go to anywhere books are sold. You know, I did the audiobook myself with my voice. Sweet. Jocko did the foreword. Oh, good. So, you know, we’re, we’re really pushing. It is the first imprint of the Jocko Press publishing. Nice.

[00:34:12] Vince Vargas: We’re very excited to see where this goes. Yeah, you can find it anywhere books are sold. I have to ask

[00:34:16] Mark Divine: about your acting. How’d you get into that? And what are you currently working on?

[00:34:20] Vince Vargas: Well, I got into it just by chance. I produced a movie myself me and some friends. I really saw what it was like I enjoyed it I started doing acting as therapy and I got an opportunity to do an audition for a major show and I landed it So I was on that show for the past five years.

[00:34:36] Vince Vargas: It’s called Mayans MC. You can see it on Hulu. It is the spinoff of Sons of Anarchy. My character, was able to go from the first take all the way to the last pretty much. No kidding. Oh, that’s great. Yeah. And I became a writer on that show for the last season as well. It was an amazing five years of my life.

[00:34:55] Vince Vargas: And now that that’s done. We are pitching several new [00:35:00] television shows and we’re waiting to hear back and seeing which ones we can continue on. Awesome.

[00:35:04] Mark Divine: Well, good luck with that. Thank you. Appreciate it. Vince, well, thanks so much again for your service, both the Border Patrol and the Army and for writing this book.

[00:35:11] Mark Divine: It’s important. Your brothers down there and sisters, they deserve to have better support. Yes, sir. And to have their spirits lifted. So good job there. What about social media? Where can folks reach out and, you know,

[00:35:22] Vince Vargas: connect with you? You can find me in just Vincent Rocco Vargas, R O C C O. Vincent Rocco Vargas on Instagram, Facebook, you name it, I’m there.

[00:35:30] Vince Vargas: Right on, brother. Awesome.

[00:35:31] Mark Divine: All right. Well, hoo yah. Thanks for showing up on the Mark Divine show. I really appreciate it, brother. Yes, sir. Thank you so

[00:35:36] Vince Vargas: much.

[00:35:40] Mark Divine: I love talking to warriors like Vincent. Thank you so much for your time today, Vincent, for the book, Borderline, and, for all the work you’ve done, both in the Army and now with the Border Patrol. And as an actor, good for you. You’re a beacon of light. Hoo yah! Show notes are up on markdivine. com. Video will be up on my YouTube channel.

[00:35:58] Mark Divine: You can find me on [00:36:00] twitter slash x at markdivine and on Instagram or Facebook at realmarkdivine or on my LinkedIn profile. Quick plug for Divine Inspiration. My newsletter comes out every Tuesday where I have my blog as well as the show notes from the week’s podcast, a book I’m reading, and other cool stuff that comes across my desk.

[00:36:15] Mark Divine: All of it positive that I think you’ll find interesting and inspiring. If you’re not on the newsletter email list, go to markdivine. com to subscribe and please share it with your friends. And thanks to my incredible team, Jason Sanderson and Catherine Devine and Jeff Haskell, who produce the podcast, bringing guests like Vincent to you every week, as well as the newsletter.

[00:36:34] Mark Divine: Ratings reviews are very important, so if you haven’t done so, please consider rating and reviewing the show wherever you listen, Apple or Amazon or Spotify. It helps keep us relevant. In closing, thanks so much for being the change you want to see in the world. If we can help you out at unbeatable mind with any of our training, we just relaunched several of our programs, a new format, the unbeatable challenge.

[00:36:55] Mark Divine: Go to unbeatablemind. com slash challenge or the foundation course, which is our seminal one [00:37:00] year long program. These are truly transformed with life changing experiences of integrated, holistic, vertical development changing who you are, not just what you think you are. So check it out. Go to unbeatablemind.

[00:37:12] Mark Divine: com to learn more, or go to my website markdivine. com to get the full scope of all the stuff we got going on. Till next time, thanks for doing the work. Hoo yah. Appreciate you.



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