Talk Border

Dennis Michael Lynch

Dennis Michael Lynch
Dennis Michael Lynch
I am not a political guy. There is no political agenda fueling this 2012: THEY COME TO AMERICA. Truth is, before making this film I never gave a single thought to illegal immigration. And yet, for some crazy reason, I went as far as risking my life to produce a non-partisan documentary about the hottest... --Dennis Michael Lynch | Photo: AND Magazine | Dennis Michael Lynch, Documentary, Immigration, Filmmaker,

Documentary film maker, part 1

Difference between a legal immigrant and an illegal immigrant is like the difference between a house guest and a burglar. --Michael Cutler.

Dennis Michael Lynch on his documentary, 2012: THEY COME TO AMERICA. The Cost of Illegal Immigration. A Dennis Michael Lynch film:

I am not a political guy. There is no political agenda fueling this film. Truth is, before making this film I never gave a single thought to illegal immigration. And yet, for some crazy reason, I went as far as risking my life to produce a non-partisan documentary about the hottest political topic in America. What's even crazier is why so many people won't want you to see my film.

October 2010. I'm stuck at a red light outside a 7-ELEVEN in Southampton, NY. An army of undocumented men stand on the corner in search of work. Across from them is a small, middle-aged man waving an American flag and a home-made sign that reads, "Deport Illegals".

Tom Wedell, is an out-of-work roofer. He has stood by himself in the same spot every morning for the past five-years protesting against illegal immigration. That said, every day for years I passed bye Tom but never paid much notice. Then one day something happened different. As I sat idle at the light, my radio starts playing the Neal Diamond song, 'America'. Somehow the lyrics force me to view the situation differently. I pull over and rip out my camera. A half-hour later I'm 30-minutes into a new film called, THEY COME TO AMERICA.

The film focuses on the human and financial costs of illegal immigration. We filmed over the span of 14-months (Oct 2010 - Nov 2011) and journeyed through Arizona, California, Illinois, Florida, DC, New York and Colorado. The debates, events, people, and places we captured on film is simply amazing. When it comes to the topic of illegal immigration, this is a first-of-its-kind film.

From day one we faced lines of resistance. The first line came from politicians. Members from both sides of the aisle avoided answering tough questions. When we said their rhetoric was unacceptable, they ran from us, literally. We captured it all on film.

The second line came from civil liberty groups who support illegal immigrants. We worked endlessly to get the ACLU, LaRaza, and other groups like them to appear on camera. We told them our questions would be tough, but fair. Everyone turned us down. We finally had an organization, Americans for Immigrant Justice, accept our request for an interview. We traveled 1,300 miles to their office only to be turned away when we arrived. We captured it all on film. (Eventually, we found a DC lobbyist and immigration attorney).

Then there was the Border Patrol. We were constantly stopped by BP Agents when they saw us filming in areas where crossing happen daily. At first, we figured it was a security measure. But the interrogations continued long after it was determined we were not terrorists or members of a drug cartel. I was forced to speak with a BP Supervisor who demanded more details. "The film is about illegal immigration", I said. "I need more specifics.", demanded the Supervisor. We captured the conversation on film.

They Come to America is anything but politically correct. There is no slant to the left or right. I am not a racist, I don't hate Latinos, I am not funded by anyone. What I am is a film maker who has made a film that exposes the truth, and the truth is illegal immigration is an issue ignored by too many politicians. It is a crime that comes at a tremendous human and financial cost to both Americans and illegals immigrants.

Although some people will try to say otherwise, They Come to America was shot with an unbiased lens, and paid for by me, a guy with no political agenda. This is an even-handed film that shines a light impossible to ignore. It's the sort of film that can spark real change, which means it is not a Michael Moore fake-u-mentary that relies on tricky editing. I don't beat around the truth. I don't sell out to Hollywood. I traded in the chance for an Oscar so I can feel what it's like to punch this topic right between the eyes. That's what I did, and that's why so many people don't want you to see this movie.

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Updated Apr 22, 2017 9:06 AM EDT | More details

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