Film Examines Illegal Immigration

East Hampton resident explores what happens after "They Come to America."

When filmmaker was driving to the South Fork during the making of his first film, "King of the Hamptons," he never paid much mind to the man standing in front of the in Southampton with signs like, "When they jumped the fence, they broke the law."

That is, until one day, when he got stuck at a red light and the Neil Diamond song "America" came on the radio. With a video camera in hand, he pulled over and started interviewing the protestor, Tom Wedell. It was the start of his second film, "They Come to America," a documentary that takes a nonpartisan look at the human and financial cost of illegal immigration.

"I decided I would travel the entire country, especially the hot spots, and just focus on ordinary people and how illegal immigration was affecting them — positively and negatively," said Lynch, who moved to East Hampton in 2010. "I didn't take a left-tone or a right-tone. I took a truth tone."

He finished the final cut just two months ago, but already the film is causing a stir. Lynch was a guest on Fox & Friends on Wednesday morning.

While illegal immigration is a familiar issue, long a hot-button topic on Long Island and the South Fork, Lynch felt strongly that he had to experience as much as he could first-hand. That included a trip to the U.S.-Mexico border where he and his crew slept in the desert for three days dodging cartels that run human and drug trafficking operations. "I wanted to see how open our borders are," Lynch said. "They are really open."

He interviewed local ranchers who fear for their lives. "One rancher said that if he takes his family out to dinner, when they return home he has to check the entire house with a gun before he can let his kids back inside," he recalled. "They constantly find illegal immigrants — not just Latino, but Arabic and Chinese — squatting in their houses and barns.”

In looking at the financial costs of illegal immigration on education and health care, Lynch also took his camera to English as a Second Language classes. It was there he found illegal immigrants who spoke candidly about their objective to make as much money as they can in the U.S. and then return back to their country.

He also found other stories that he calls the human cost of illegal immigration.   “So many of them are polite, friendly, hard-working, good people who violated our immigration laws because they dream of being American. They want to add value to the community and pay taxes. They want to raise their families here but can’t without doing so underground,” Lynch said.

One-third of the film was shot on the South Fork. He filmed illegal immigrants willing to share their stories and answer questions — two of whom were Ecuadorians looking for work at the in East Hampton and in Southampton.

John Roland, a former news anchor on Fox 5 and long-time resident of Westhampton, helped conduct some of the political interviews for the film.

Overall, Lynch sought to shine a light on issues he feels can no longer be ignored. "I went at it with an even-hand. I just let my camera tell the story. Aside from stating the system is broke, I keep my opinions out of it," he said. He invites the viewer to decide. 

"My hope, like any filmmaker, is the movie will spark a little bit of change."

For details about seeing the film, visit www.theycometoamerica.com. Trailers are available to the right of the article.

Preliator March 14, 2012 at 11:46 AM
"...I'm so ashamed of my American citizens." "Get it together people, you're embarrassing me! " Then leave and take a couple illegal immigrants with on the way out.
John Pine March 22, 2012 at 05:33 AM
These people are criminals, they dont come here for a better life, they come here to leech off of us, they live 20-30 to a home, and send most of the money they make back home, out of the country and out of the economy. Many fine towns on Long Island have been turned into 3rd world countries, take a look at Riverhead by the train station, Hampton Bays, Southampton by the 7-11, Patchogue, Port Jefferson, Farmingville, Brentwood, Westbury, Hicksville...the list of LI towns lost grows every year. Driving through these towns, you see men loitering around, with dirty clothes, wearing backpacks and hoodies. Cash wiring services such as Vigo where they wire the money back home. You'll see litter everywhere on the streets, bodegas, and beat up cars with out of state license plates. Then there's the gang tags, usually MS-13 or Surenos. I've been complaining to the officials and the police but nothing gets done, no one wants to protect us. Because they are all beholdened to the rich and powerful people that employ illegal labor. I haven't had much luck convincing my fellow Long Islander's not to hire them, they'd rather not do their own lawn, rather than stop this destructive tide across Long Island. It seems an eventuality that I will be leaving this home where I have spent 35 years of my life, forced off by these invaders. Before you defend them, try having to walk past these men everyday...and riding the bus with them. They stare at you and laugh, like they own it,but they STOLE it.
John Pine March 22, 2012 at 05:44 AM
Try dealing with these guys on a daily basis. You probably live in a well to do community and hire these men to clean your lawn. But get out of that Range Rover, take a ride on the bus, like the S92 (or most buses in Nassau County) and see these men get drunk and throw trash on the bus, and then write MS-13 tags all over the seats. It has nothing to do with their race and everything to do with their attitude. They often speak loudly and spit, then once you're off the bus then you can walk past them getting drunk some more and loitering, and staring at you. If you're lucky you won't step into gum or puke they left on the sidewalk, or smell urine in the alleyways. This is the reality I deal with everyday. And I'm a guy. I'm sure women have it worse, often take a look at the latest sexual crimes as they are committed by illegals. They are NOT here for a better life. If they were, they'd assimilate. Instead, they are here to live in squalor and sent the money they make back home, to their own countries, which is where their allegiance lies. Go into any community infested with illegals and count the money wiring services. Proof that money goes back to their own countries, and not here.
John Pine March 22, 2012 at 05:48 AM
Exactly, Montaukman. But our elected officials would rather break the law and turn a blind eye to these lawbreaking companies in our communities. They are paid off by those that hire illegals, and or afraid of being labeled a "racist". You see some of these people posting here, claiming it's racist to want the law enforced. Since when does legal status have anything to do with race? Our country is only as strong as our laws, and seeing the way enforcement of them has been of late, the future looks bleak for the USA.
Jaguar-Guy March 22, 2012 at 11:36 AM
Hey John, according to the American-Hating/Illegal Loving posts above you, since you have formed your own opinion based on your 35 years of experience with all of this - you are a racist. I hope my sarcasm comes through loud and clear.
Preliator March 22, 2012 at 12:32 PM
I just love how those who support illegal immigration just like to throw around the word racist if you talk against illegals, it is such an easy thing to do. Actually it is a bit intellectually lazy but hey who cares really. Al I know is if I do something wrong, if I break the law I have to answer for it be it a fine or jail time. Here, in this instance, we reward those who break the law, you flaunt the system and all to often government agencies turn a blind eye to it. Well guess what, the law needs to apply to everyone equally otherwise they are not laws, they are suggestions. I think it is time for the hard working, tax paying and voting Americans to take a stand, to demand action from our idiotic government; fix the problem, no more handouts, secure the border and let's have a serious conversation about immigration reform. No matter your view, one is needed. As for immigrants, if you want to come to this country, if you want to be part of our great experiment and the country, great, welcome aboard. The line starts over there, be patient follow the rules and not cuts.
Jaguar-Guy March 22, 2012 at 01:43 PM
Preliator, I was being sarcastic with the "racist" comment. John is not a racist, I believe that we ALL must play by the rules and follow the Rule of Law. We clearly need massive reform to make room for those already here. Reagan, the Great Communicator declared Amnesty for millions back in the early 80's. The point of the film by Mr. Lynch, I believe, sheds light on how open and pourous our borders are, despite our beloved Prez declaring them 100% safe. That is a terrible lie to tell the American People by Obama, and make jokes about a "moat". Go south and see the violence spilling over into the states, and you would be outraged that the Govenrment is doing nothing other than sicking Atty. Gen. Holder on those states that try to protect their own citizens, because the Fed. Govt. won't !!!
Preliator March 22, 2012 at 04:13 PM
That was not directed to you or John, Jaguar but those who mindlessly defend illegal immigrants and disregard the law. In truth our country faces many serious issues but with the current lack of political will, courage and common sense I don't we'll see any meaningful change.
. March 22, 2012 at 07:03 PM
Opening nite is at Guild Hall on Sat., March 31 at 7:45pm. It is the only date we are showing the film on the East End. For ticket info and purchasing, go to TheyComeToAmerica.com The film will be followed by a QA session with an INS AGENT, Immigration Attorney, TV news anchor John Roland and myself. Any profits from the evening will be donated to St Judes Hospital for Children.
Fabss7 May 11, 2012 at 02:39 PM
I agree with most of the people who complaints about Latino couples having kids and taking advantages of food stamps, health care and what not, however that is stereotyping, not all Latino people think the same way, some come and work hard and try to be part of the community by learning the language or opening business and obeying the law. I'm against having so many kids if you can't provide a decent life style and good education. I know is challenging for the government to keep track of all the individuals that come to America and what they're intentions are, it's really upsetting that because of a minority of immigrants that don't do the right thing the rest get judge in the same way. It's like saying all Latino look alike or all Asians are Chinese. Or all midle Easters are terrorists.
Mo Neill May 11, 2012 at 03:33 PM
Do you think it good or bad they throw away the key as you've stated? Are you implying that the US should throw away the key to those imprisoned or would you want this nation to base their laws on Mexico's?
Mo Neill May 11, 2012 at 03:38 PM
yes most of the LaTINO licensed contractors are at a disadvantage to contractors who pay off the books, but I doubt anyone, even those here out of status w/ immigration or any good patriot citizen would cheat Uncle Sam on taxes.
Mo Neill May 11, 2012 at 03:45 PM
Pre liar, don't call Jag guy a racist just because he is contemptous of immigrants and believes all lantinos here are illegal. Do you know the number of immigrants here on LI? Do you know how many immigrants are out of status with immigration out of that number. God forbid, but I just don't believe you are that lazy not to check yr assertions you put forward as facts without any citations.
Mo Neill May 11, 2012 at 03:53 PM
Fabss, don't knock yr head against the wall trying to reason with these immigrant-haters that Dan's biased film against immigrants seems to have brought out of tthe woodwork. Since most all the people here out of status with immigrantion, those the immigrant haters term "illegals" are male & single or married, but without their families not here, the constant refrain they are having lots of children here is wacko.
Preliator May 11, 2012 at 04:46 PM
What is wrong Mo; bored, lonely or do you just have the need to write rambling barley coherent messages while trolling discussions that are two months old?
Mary Beth May 11, 2012 at 04:50 PM
preliator, you are clearly as bored, lonely and in desperate need of being heard as you obviously cannot stop yourself from answering every comment.
Preliator May 11, 2012 at 06:37 PM
Jaguar-Guy May 12, 2012 at 11:15 AM
You mean the Occupy Wall Street folks who are marching, demanding entitlements now in exchange for absolutely nothing?? Yes, I would make that trade in a second !!! At least these people want work, the Occupiers want everything given to them. Let's trade!!!!
Jaguar-Guy May 12, 2012 at 12:55 PM
Mexico is a racist country because they punish illegal aliens in their country so harshly. Such hypocrisy!!
Jaguar-Guy May 13, 2012 at 06:40 PM
Past her bedtime.
Laura Otto May 13, 2012 at 11:00 PM
Holy crap. Catholics in the 70's had 9 or 10 kids due to religious reasons and birth control. Keep the racial profiling out of it!!
Laura Otto May 13, 2012 at 11:06 PM
Your comment tries to sound sympathetic but it is soooo bad.
Michael P May 30, 2012 at 08:23 PM
What "Ryan" is forgetting is that illegal aliens -even those who work in some capacity- consume far more in public services than they pay in taxes; if they pay taxes that is. Overall, they are a huge net drain on the American economy, and it does not constitute 'hatred' to point that out. Are there plenty of Americans who abuse the social safety net? Sure there are, but they're not going anywhere -unfortunately-, and their presence is no excuse for tolerating the influx of even more people who take more than they contribute.
Michael P May 30, 2012 at 08:39 PM
Mary, the "research" you cited is thoroughly misleading because it draws no meaningful distinction between illegal aliens and lawful immigrants. To say there is no difference between an illegal alien and a lawful immigrant is as absurd as saying there is no difference between a home-invader and an invited guest, but that is waht "studies" like the one you cited do. Answer me this Mary: if illegal aliens are such a boon to a country's economy, why does California, which almost certainly has more illegals than any other state, have a moribund economy? Why is the state government teetering on the edge of bankruptcy? Why has the state school system gone from one of the best in the country in 1970 to one of the worst today? Do tell. Lest you accuse me of being "anti-immigrant", let me also say that I came to this country legally. I jumped through every hoop, dotted every 'i', and crossed every 't'. So should everyone else who wants to live here. P.S. There is absolutely nothing 'racist' about wanting the rule of law to be upheld.
Jaguar-Guy May 30, 2012 at 08:57 PM
Well written Michael P.
Mo Neill May 31, 2012 at 05:28 PM
what sheer nonsense! so you tthink code enforcement & local scofflaw courts will solve immigration reform?
Mo Neill May 31, 2012 at 05:33 PM
good question & the only conclusion that can be made is the official sport of many, many police depts is that the traffic citations & other driving scofflaws are being ticketed by racial profiling.
kathleen Duffin July 31, 2012 at 04:09 AM
Ahh, but they have only committed a misdemeanor civil offense under the current US law, which affords them so many rights under the 14th Amendment.
Mo Neill July 31, 2012 at 02:03 PM
Ach, Jag, you too can pay into SS. If you pay with a SS number not assigned to you, SS will place that money in a special account. SS cards are free. Many employees pay FICA tax on salaries, using cards with wrong numbers. Right now it is a huge sum, 2 yrs ago, it reached $50 Billion. Further, numbskull, it is a law that the employer must pay SS for each worker. Like you, I don 't think any patriotic American employer would ever cheat Uncle Sam, (would they? Certainly not you!) Just as no flag waving red, white or blue American would never cheat Uncle Sam, do you really think an employer would deduct the taxes from employers & pocket the money? Please, where did I say you, Jag, are a racist? This canard "race card" has been pulled on me in any number of civil conversations, when race was never mentioned. "Race card" is readily at the lips of conservatives, as if they are obsessed with race, as if the mantra "race card" can be pulled out to immunize the user or argument from such an accusation or suspicion. Educate yourself jerk: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/05/business/05immigration.html http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/02/opinion/02wed3.html?_r=1
Jaguar-Guy July 31, 2012 at 04:08 PM
Hi Mo, you did on May 11, below, and oter times. Also, no props from you on me using "out of status"? I thought you'd aapreciate that one. Thanks, be good.


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