Filmmaker’s passion reflected in illegal immigration film
Posted October 30, 2012on:
Dennis Michael Lynch – remember that name. He made an extraordinary film, “They Come to America,” documenting the problems in the United States with illegal immigration. Lynch’s persistence and tenacity drove him to travel the country in his Jeep, which boasts a mileage reading of over 197,000 miles, to show this film in free venues to anyone who wants to see it. After spending $160,000 of his own money to make the film and being turned down by potential buyers and rejected by film festivals, he continues to show the film and begins the process of making a second film to recommend solutions to this important problem.
As his wife and four children endured the super storm Sandy at their Long Island home on Monday, Oct. 29, Lynch raced through the desert from Tucson to Phoenix to appear on a local radio show and attend the free screening of his film at Thunderbird High School. He also plans to appear at the free screening at Pollack Cinemas in Tempe, Arizona on Oct. 30 before he leaves Wednesday for the border.
The film shows vivid examples of the illegal immigration problem. An unemployed roofer, Tom Wedell, protests every morning in Southampton, N. Y., near Lynch’s home, as illegal immigrants wait for work and a free meal. Wedell’s been banned from the 7-ELEVEN across the street because of his protests, but he continues daily to bring attention to the problem. In one conversation about the border, he says that even heaven has gates, which made the audience laugh.
Lynch travels to Florida to meet a journalist friend, John Roland. Along the way, they find U.S. citizens who lost their jobs or were transferred because they don’t speak both English and Spanish. At Florida gubernatorial rallies for both the democratic and republican candidates, Lynch and Roland are ignored and finally escorted away from the venue with police following them off of the property because they respectfully, but tenaciously asked how the candidates planned to deal with the illegal immigration problems.
Lynch talks with immigrants and illegal immigrants throughout the film. He asks their motives for coming here. Some truly want to be citizens while others want to make money and send it home to live comfortable lives.
In Arizona, Lynch speaks with seven ranchers and hears what they deal with on a daily basis in Bisbee, Arizona. The lady rancher goes to her barn armed with a pistol and usually finds illegal immigrants sleeping there. She guards her life and those of her two grandchildren from possible danger.
The other ranchers tell their stories of leaving home for an errand and returning to their homes and going from room-to-room to make sure there are no intruders. They’re frustrated because the government doesn’t protect America and its citizens.
Sheriff Larry Dever, who was recently killed, tells of the problems, but also discusses how the fence in Yuma keeps out 95 percent of the border crossers. Lynch verifies this number later with one of the immigrants when he asks him if 100 people came to cross the border and a fence stopped them, how many would cross? His answer was five.
The film deals with experts, victims of the problem and those who come here illegally. It shows how Americans become frustrated with the situation, but fear to voice their opinion because of the threat of being called racist.
In the questions and answer session following the film, Lynch said that he’s had occasion to follow a group of students out of the movie as they left at the beginning of the movie in protest. He reasoned with them to come back the following night to see the film in its entirety, and they did. After the movie on the following night, everyone talked together to discuss solutions to the problem.
He also said there’s never a showing when he doesn’t say you don’t know what Arizona’s going through. He said this is the first time he’s not had to say that because we as Arizonans know firsthand. Lynch listened as audience members expressed their experiences and related stories of Hezbollah strong holds in Mexico, exorbitant medical expenses because of problems with uninsured immigrants and Americans using the emergency rooms at hospitals, the fact that our border is not secured even though Janet Napolitano says it is and the emphasis that E-Verify needs to be used by companies and enforced by the government.
Lynch doesn’t blame the illegal immigrants for the problem. He puts the blame squarely on the politicians and the immigration policies or lack of them where it belongs.
Attending the free screening presents bonuses in that folks discuss their views and frustrations, and they walk away with a dose of Lynch’s contagious passion for the problem. Many asked how they could help him in his quest to bring this problem to the public, and others presented him with their ideas to share the film. Lynch offers a DVD for sale after the screening and makes the DVD available for sale on his website .
I highly recommend this film. It’s a winner in so many ways, and it’s something everyone needs to see.