Cesar Millan illegally crossed the U.S.-Mexico border decades ago with only $100 in his pocket.
And while the man known as the “Dog Whisper” said he knows he “broke a boundary and a rule,” he claims he was justified because “it was for a dream.”
The dog behaviorist recalled his journey on a recent appearance on Jada Pinkett Smith‘s “Red Table Talk,” talking about his dream of becoming the “best dog trainer in the world” when he headed to America.
You can feel the love at the Red Table this week! @Jadapsmith is joined by longtime friend @cesarmillan on today‘s #RedTableTalk. Grab some tissues for this one: https://t.co/38ocCUdVJ4 pic.twitter.com/O4GsnSP1fC
— Red Table Talk (@RedTableTalk) July 2, 2018
“When I was 21 years old, on December 23, I went to my mom again, ‘Mom I’m leaving.’” She said, ‘Where are you going? Tomorrow is Christmas,’” Millan told Smith. “I’m going to America.”
With $100 from his father, Millan embarked on the two-day bus ride to the border.
“Once you get to the border, what you see is people wanted to take advantage of you. So that’s when you learn about the streets. But that’s another level of streets,” Millan said. “They can sell you. They can kill you for organs. I mean, dead is more likely than jumping it [border wall].”
“There were many times I let the border patrol catch me because Americans feed you. So when they catch you, they feed you. Mexican police don’t feed you. Many times I didn’t eat because I wanted to save my $100,” he said, recounting how he finally met a man who got him across the border and in a cab to San Diego.
“I jumped the border,” Millan admitted. “I’m respectful about it — I know I broke a boundary and a rule, but it was for a dream.”
He looked for jobs and worked at cleaning kennels. “Those are the jobs that as immigrants we get. We don’t get the middle-of-the-pack jobs, we don’t get the top-of-the-pack jobs; we get the back of the pack,” he told Smith, whom he’s known for 28 years and credits with helping him.
Millan eventually launched a dog-walking business in the Inglewood neighborhood of Los Angeles and, with his reputation growing as a canine behavior specialist, was approached about the television series that made him a star.
In 2009, he officially became a U.S. citizen.
At a time when the immigration issue is daily being debated in the media, liberals were brought to tears by Millan’s story.
This is the American dream. Blood, sweat, and tears he made it. Good for him and he became a citizen to boot.
— Just Another One (@JKJKgranny) July 3, 2018
I respect that guy so much! He fought for EVERYTHING and became famous just surviving& doing what he knew and killed it! When they dog these immigrants I wish they’d watch his story! He took charge of his life scared as hell and made it all they way??????????
— Kenyatta Rutland (@KenFingyatta) July 3, 2018
Loved loved loved @RedTableTalk w/@cesarmillan @jadapsmith It brought me to tears, it made me smile. It gave me chills. Such a beautiful episode. Continued Blessings to @jadapsmith her kindness and heart radiate
— Natasha K. (@NatashaKhawja) July 4, 2018
But for Constitution-loving, law-abiding Americans, the Dog Whisperer’s justification for actions did not make it less illegal, and neither did his choice of words.
“Our laws are not ‘a boundary and a rule’ they are laws that are designed to protect our citizens,” one reader responded to Yahoo.
“So pursuit of a dream justifies breaking laws?” asked another, while one reader said “The end doesn’t justify the means…..”
Some Twitter users agreed that the “thought process” justifying Millan’s choices was “insanity.”
“i broke the law but its okay because it was for a good reason.” absurd. this entire thought process is insanity. no reasonable person should disagree. u dont get to pick and choose which laws to follow. if you want to change the law, VOTE to change it. period.
— Tom Keen (@TheRealTomKeen) July 2, 2018
it’s something good to celebrate breaking the law? I have a dream too ( a brand new Mercedes) if I steal it, can I come and brag here about it! Also most of the legal immigrants here come with almost nothing because they pay everything they own to get the visa & poawork legally
— Tiamat (@ameeniis) July 3, 2018
“Millan acknowledged he ‘broke a boundary & a rule,’ he said ‘it was for a dream.'”
It’s not a RULE, it’s a LAW. My dream is to be rich. Can I break the ‘rule’ about robbing banks? Nope.
— Participate (@partord) July 4, 2018
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