His arrest was shocking to those who knew him. "The guy had an unblemished record with the department. Everyone liked him. He did his job. He was eager to continue to be what he loved to be," said Luis Gonzales, a police officer who worked with Ayala-Cornejo, and the vice president of the Wisconsin chapter of the Latino Peace Officers Association.
"He is a young man who basically did what his father had asked him to do," said Gonzales. "Why did he do that? He did it because of the way the immigration laws are set in this country."
There are an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in Ayala-Cornejo's situation. Brought to the U.S. by their parents as children, they often feel entirely American. For Ayala-Cornejo, Mexico feels like a foreign country.
About a month ago, two of the officers, with whom he had worked, were shot in his patrol area. He told Morin that he had never felt so helpless, and felt tremendous guilt for not having been there to help them.
He returned to his birth home today as a Mexican citizen with an American accent.