They Come to America By Maria Fotopoulos

Besides identifying problems, the film offers solutions, including use of the E-Verify program, an Internet-based system that allows businesses to determine the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States. In the film, FAIR says the single greatest step to counter illegal immigration is to deny jobs to people who are in the country illegally, because “when the word gets out, people won’t come.”

“They Come to America” is a new documentary from New York filmmaker Dennis Michael Lynch, who has taken particular care to examine the illegal immigration issue in a very balanced manner. I know many films get labeled as “must see,” but this one really is a must see for its thoroughness in exploring the issue and its sensitivity to never losing sight of the human costs.

Lynch confesses to being nonpolitical and to not voting for 20 years (something he says he’s not proud of and plans to change now that he’s had an awakening on the immigration issue). So what got him interested in the now highly polarized topic of illegal immigration? An intersection of unrelated events while he was working in the Hamptons on his first film.

While driving, the avowed Neil Diamond fan was singing along with “America” – Diamond’s anthem to immigrants – and saw a fellow on the street he’d seen repeatedly with a “Deport Illegals” sign. Out of complete curiosity, he stopped to get this protester’s story. That was the start of a filming journey that lasted from November 2010 through October 2011.

For being nonpolitical, Lynch comes up to speed quickly, essentially hitting on all of the relevant issues around the illegal immigration topic – among them, chain migration, birthright citizenship, sanctuary cities, security and safety, and drug and human smuggling. He gets that legal immigration spurs illegal immigration, with tremendous ramifications on employment and the overall economy.


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