Jose Ramirez Jr. grew up with his eyes on a career in law enforcement.
But the 23-year-old Laredo, Texas, native's goal became even more important to achieve in 2012. One of his older brothers, Jeffrey, died while serving as an agent with U.S. Customs and Border Protection from a heat-related illness.
For the past two years, Ramirez anxiously waited to get accepted to that same agency, to continue his family's legacy.
"I want to be able to protect our homeland," said Ramirez, who has another older brother currently serving with CBP in south Texas. "I want to follow in my brother's footsteps, to honor him."
Two months ago, Ramirez began training at the Border Patrol Academy in Artesia, New Mexico, and is set to graduate in January. He'll join an agency tasked with patrolling 6,000 miles of the country's land border and more than 300 ports of entry including land, air and sea.