- Director of the popular "King of the Hamptons," Dennis Lynch
takes an honest, unbiased, and brutal look at illegal immigration and its consequences on both sides in his new documentary film "They Come to America."
At a screening held at Guild Hall
on Saturday, March 31, the filled-to-capacity crowd had some attendees turned away as there were simply no more seats, prompting Lynch to take to the stage for not only a seat count, but to urge his wife and children to vacate their seats to accommodate more guests - this is a film that everyone wanted to and should see.
Co-host of the evening, former Fox 5 news anchor, John Roland. (Joe Strand)
Lynch takes a hard, yet passionate look, at the financial, legal and political, potential terrorism acts, medical, security, housing, and most importantly, human consequences of out-of-control illegal immigration occurring presently in the United States. Its revelations - from employment, health care, crime, and racism is as sad as it is disturbing.
There are powerful moments in this film, not the least of which is the daily presence of a sole man who stands by the 7-11 in Southampton each and every day protesting the gathering of illegal immigrants who are chosen for work - work he believes should go to Americans. He's been there for over two years, and it presents a valid inquiry - just where have our local political leaders been?
Lynch manages to present all sides with clarity and insight, from his exhaustive interviews conducted throughout the country including Miami, where former Fox 5 news anchor John Roland
, who contributes to the film, explains "When I open my terrace windows and listen to the sounds from the streets below I could be anywhere where Spanish is the national language, and not English." Roland attempts repeatedly in the film to interview Florida politicans, including the governor, on the issue of immigration - he is scornfully diverted to others who refuse to answer his simple questions.
With travel to Chicago
, Tuscon, New York, and other areas, Lynch exhaustively interviews former immigration executives, immigration lawyers, educators, employers, ranchers, border patrol, students, citizens, adult children born in the U.S. to illegal immigrant parents, and illegal immigrants themselves - in fact, he hires two in Southampton to work on his East Hampton home, and becomes attached to "Mauricio" - a young married man with a three-month-old baby. Lynch allows himself to become deeply involved in the plight of Mauricio and his wife and child to the point where he offers him living arrangements on his property - pragmatically, Lynch is advised that this is not only a bad idea, but illegal as well, and rescinds the offer.
Marquee at Guild Hall announcing the film's premiere. (Joe Strand)
Taking to the streets, Lynch and gang, including our favorite cameraman (and associate producer of the film), Rory MacInish
, and others put themselves in a number of dangerous situations to shed light on an issue that unfortunately appears to have absolutely no concrete resolution.
With such a hot political topic, Lynch must be congratulated for presenting a film with absolutely no political agenda - he asks the questions we all want asked, and reveals information that affects all of us - his choice to travel the 'fence' to within yards of a known drug cartel house and then being chased is absolutely terrifying. He is both a compassionate and intelligent film maker, and always, and at all times, allows each person in the film to state their opinion and reveal the quality of life, financial and personal ramifications that directly impact their lives as a result of an illegal immigation problem that is simply out of control.
Panel for Q&A following the film. (Joe Strand)
At the film's conclusion, Lynch attempted to conduct a Q&A, along with Roland, an immigration attorney and a former ICE member, however the platform evolved into more of a town meeting whereby guests used the opportunity to reveal their personal interaction with illegal immigration and its effects on their businesses, children's education, health care, safety, as well as openly discourse on their personal opinion of the American dream. Roland attempted to keep the Q&A format in place, however, he was foiled by the other two panelists who also wanted their opionion heard. Lynch answered each question presented to him honestly and insightfully - even admitting that he has never voted.
The title of the film "They Come To America" is a nod to musician Neil Diamond
, and should be required viewing in all schools, as well as be sent to every politican in the country, and if you believe that illegal immigration only extends to those individuals hoping for a better life - head over to the 7-11, go inside, get some strong coffee and wake up.
Eileen Casey spent many years working in the television and music industries in New York City on the "ABC In Concert" weekly series, as well as several prime time network and cable television specials. An award-winning journalist, editor, and artist, and former Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com, she enjoys staying warm in Charleston and cool in the Hamptons.