A Woman's Perspective On The Times We Live In


October 10, 2012

Recommended DVD: They Come To America

    Dennis Michael Lynch has produced a hard-hitting and honest documentary that I highly recommend.  Titled They Come To America: The Cost of Illegal Immigration, this film looks at all sides of the Immigration issue and our nation's failed policies.  We hear candid and straightforward opinions from those both for and against illegal immigration:  a retired ICE agent; a real estate agent in Miami, FL; unemployed versus self-employed construction contractors; a lobbyist for the Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations, in contrast with a spokesman for the Federation of American Immigration Reform; an Immigration Attorney in opposition to the President of Numbers USA, a civil forum that puts forth the staggering numerical level of U.S. immigration; and finally, the human element: the ranchers along the Arizona border and the illegal immigrants themselves, who are looking for the better life that America offers.
      I was impressed with the sincere efforts of Mr. Lynch to shine the spotlight on Illegal Immigration and all of its consequences.  He is the "star", so-to-speak, of his own film, as he travels the country in search for a true picture of why Illegal Immigration is such a hot-button issue.  He is engaging and impassioned in his quest, and comes across on camera as decent, fair and respectful.
     But why this issue?  Mr. Lynch says it has a lot to do with the fact that he experienced 9/11 personally.  As he states, "I was one of those people running away from the Towers."  His love for his country is evident, and he wants some answers.  One gets the feeling that very little was censored in this film, in other words it is not "politically correct."
     In fact, Lynch has only voted once in the last 20 years, because he says, "I never saw a candidate that looked like me.  They were always 'a suit.' ".  You're probably asking the same question I did ... how do you go from being apolitical to doing a film on Illegal Immigration?  Lynch recognized that the system is broken, and being a filmmaker, he wanted to find the truth and, hopefully, answers on how to solve the problem.  He gives both sides the opportunity to speak plainly and bluntly.  In doing so, the film tackles all the complicated issues:
     Chain Migration -  Current U.S. policies allow immigrants to sponsor their relatives back home to be admitted as immigrants here.  This policy in and of itself is not a problem, until you consider that for 200 years, from 1770 to 1970, the U.S. averaged 250,000 immigrants per year.  After 1970 that number jumped to 425,000/year, and after 1990 it has grown to 1,000,000/year.  Estimates put the Illegal Immigrant population at close to 13,000,000.  The question must be asked .... how do we, the American taxpayer, sustain that kind of strain on our system?
     Individual Tax ID -  Available through the IRS, regardless of immigration status.  It can be used to open a bank account.  This tax ID allows illegal immigrants to open bank accounts to deposit the money they make in America; to safeguard it until they can send it back home to their families, or to pay for other family members to illegally enter the country.  Throughout the film, Lynch interviews Illegal workers, who admit they can charge less for their services than an American worker because the American has to pay taxes; they don't.  The other side of the coin is presented by the Immigration Attorney:  Are they stealing jobs from Americans, or are they being given jobs, because their labor is cheaper?  It's a complicated and contradictory system.
     English As A Second Language -  Illegal Immigrants are here, and they are having children who go into the school system.  Who is paying for that?  A representative for Immigration Reform reported that the fiscal impact of Illegal Immigration at the national, state and local levels is $113 Billion per year, with 75% of that expenditure going towards "limited english proficiency education" for those who don't speak English.  A lobbyist for an Immigrant Coalition counters that this figure is inflated because many of these kids are born in America to non-English speaking parents.  They have a right to be taught English.  That brings us to the next issue:
     Birthright Citizenship -  A person born in the U.S. is given citizenship, regardless of the immigrant status of the parents.  Several educators in the film cited the high cost of educating children with birthright status whose parents are not paying in to the system --- over $16,000/child.  One school superintendent lamented, "It doesn't matter if you have an illegal Visa or snuck in; we still have to educate them -- and the numbers are increasing."  Then you have the cases of students who were brought to this country as small children.  America is all they've known and they consider America as their home.  Yet they are undocumented and unable to get jobs, because their parents came here illegally and never obtained citizenship.  Director Lynch asks How broken is this system that pays to educate these kids from kindergarten through 12th grade, and then throws them under the bus because they aren't citizens?
     Yet not all illegal immigrants want to become Americans.  One group that Lynch interviewed says they came here to work and make enough money to go back home and have a better life in their country of origin.  They look at the values of American youth and don't want to stay and raise a family here.  When asked would they pay taxes to stay here and work, they willingly said "yes .... but you don't ask for taxes, so I'm not going to volunteer to pay them."  Like I said, it's a complicated and contradictory system.
     Health Care -  Just looking at the birthrate of Illegal Immigrants, there are 100,000 births per year at an average cost of $10,000 per birth.  The CEO of a major hospital in Miami, Florida stated that those not covered by health insurance will use the Emergency Room as their first point of access, which has resulted in $100 Million of costs per year at her institution.  "We are close to our safety net breaking."  Evidence of that is the rising number of community hospitals that are forced to close their doors.   The Immigration Attorney wants you to realize that we don't have an avenue for these Illegal Immigrants to contribute to the health care system -- it's not their fault.  He also would like you to understand that there are an awful lot of Americans who are on Medicaid and don't contribute to the system either; don't put the full blame on the Illegals.  But on the other side of the fence, the Immigration Reform advocate reminds us that every ER visit that occurs should not exist -- they are not supposed to be here.
     Personal Side of the Story -  There is a human component that transcends numbers and dollar figures.  Perhaps Lynch's most compelling part of the documentary are the stories he shows us of those personally affected by this broken system.  He interviews Ranchers along the Arizona border who tell them that they feel unsafe in their own homes and on their own property.  Even where there is a Border Fence erected, it oftentimes is not protected or surveilled by Border Agents.  "You live with a sense that something can go wrong at any moment.  It's unnerving."  Representative Steve King (R-Iowa) is shown testifying before Congress that "more than 9,000 Americans are killed annually by Illegal Immigrants."
     Ranchers report that it's not just migrant workers that are crossing the border; it's the criminal element.  In fact, during more than one portion of the documentary, Lynch and his cameraman are chased by drug cartel members as they travel along the border.  Ranchers report that it's commonplace to hear shots fired along the border, yet the Border Patrol is told to retreat, leaving these American families caught in the middle of the violence.
     One dissatisfied Sheriff relates on camera, "The Federal Government has a Constitutional responsibility to defend the homeland.  They have failed."  To counter that argument, the Immigration Advocate staunchly defends her position:  "Borders between countries are becoming less significant.  There is no reason for the Border fence."
     Besides the personal stories of the Ranchers who live with this unsettling existence every day, Lynch also gets up close and personal with Mauricio, an undocumented construction worker.  Lynch finds that he likes the kid, his work ethic, and his dreams for his young wife and baby (who is born as an American citizen).  He tries to help him, until he realizes that he is breaking the law by paying him to repair an old building on his property.  He tells Mauricio that he can longer hire him or house him and his family.  The next day they disappear; going underground.  It's a story that is repeated thousands of times across the country.
     National Security -  Human and Drug Smuggling have merged, while OTM's (Other Than Mexicans) have successfully invaded our land.  Drug cartels boldly claim corridors along our border, fearing no retribution; while Korans and prayer rugs are found in our Southwest deserts.  Many who live this nightmare along the border feel we are setting ourselves up for another 9/11 .... or worse!
   
     I have tried to give you a comprehensive summary of this in-depth documentary, but I would urge you to purchase a copy for yourself and share with your friends.  You will be able to see for yourself just how screwed up our Immigration Policy is.  Neither political party wants to fix it.  The Democrats see Illegal Immigrants as an endless voting bloc, and Republicans see them as an endless supply of cheap labor.  There is no incentive --- not even deaths of innocent Americans, bankrupting our education and health care systems, or a future terrorist attack --- that is important enough for them to solve this problem.
     This film premiered in New York to a sold-out crowd, but Dennis Michael Lynch has been unable to secure distribution for the film.  On an interview on Fox News, Lynch claimed that "distributors reject the film due to the subject matter." He also claimed the film has been rejected by more than 30 film festivals. He says he counters the rejections by selling the DVD on his website and traveling the country showing the film at venues who permit him to do so.  That's how I purchased this DVD.  In fact, if you buy the DVD for $19.99, he will send you two for free.  He wants his message out there.  And it is a message that every American needs to see and then decide for themselves.  How do we solve this broken system, and yet preserve America as "the shining city on a hill?"  We can no longer afford to provide free education and health care to millions of people.  But what is the solution?  We've opened the dam, and there's no way to stop the flow.  Lynch has done a fantastic job of presenting all the arguments and showing the conundrum we've created.  This DVD will provide you with all the intellectual and emotional fodder for a stimulating debate!

Habakkuk 1:3-4       "Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted. "
   

1 comment:

  1. Great review. I've ordered my copies. Cheers!

    ReplyDelete