16th District, Texas
El Paso Community College, TX
During his three terms in Congress, Silvestre Reyes has found many who share his strong support of community colleges. His advocacy is unique among his legislative colleagues because it draws on his own experiences as a community college student.
Reyes used his GI Bill benefits from his Vietnam War service to attend El Paso Community College. He worked full-time while taking classes and raising a family. Convenient class schedules made El Paso Community College his first choice in higher education; the quality of the professors kept him coming back.
As chief of the U.S. Border Patrol in McAllen and El Paso, Texas, from 1984 to 1995, Reyes gained a national reputation as an innovator. The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) spread his "Operation Hold the Line" initiative along the entire Southwest Border. Reyes retired from the INS in 1995 after 26 years of service to run for Congress.
Reyes is chairman of the Hispanic Caucus in Congress and a member of the Armed Services and Veterans Affairs committees in the House of Representatives. He works on education and globalization issues.