Michael G. Harpold began his 35-year career in the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) as a border patrol inspector on the Mexican border. Later in his career while stationed at Bakersfield, California, he met César Chávez. Their paths crossed because Chavez believed that illegal border-crossers were a threat to his efforts to build a union for farmworkers. Harpold served two years in Vietnam with the U.S. Agency for International Development and, after returning to the INS, became an officer of the employee’s union, making frequent appearances before congressional committees testifying on proposed immigration legislation and the INS budget. Harpold served five years in the U.S. Army and won a competitive appointment to West Point. He holds a bachelor’s degree from California State University at Fresno and attended Golden Gate University School of Law in San Francisco.