Synopsis: Available June 11th Only!
Illegal is a feature-length documentary about the miraculous journey of Salvadoran immigrant and Southern Oregon entrepreneur and philanthropist Laz Ayala’s life or death path to U.S. citizenship> It also explores the challenges of present-day immigration and Ayala’s mission to humanize immigrants and reform immigration for the benefit of all. The film begins as Laz journeys back to his childhood home in El Salvador. He recounts his arduous path north on the Pan American Highway with his father and brother where at any moment they could have been discovered and turned back… or killed. Laz’s life is a story of struggle, determination, and hope for a brighter future for immigrants, the industries that rely upon them, and our entire country.
In 2016, when I graduated from Southern Oregon University, I told people that my dream was to film a documentary in Latin America. Laz and I met at the Southern Oregon Rotary Club where I was hired to film his speech. After hearing Laz’s testimony, I was inspired by his life story, suggesting that it could be a powerful film. In November 2018, I was chosen to direct his movie, and my dream became a reality. At that time, my motivation for telling Laz’s story was purely biographical—to give the American public an opportunity to step into the immigrant’s shoes and learn about their story of desire, struggle and success. However, as I finished editing, I realize that sharing Laz’s narrative is about finding a solution to the conundrum of illegal immigration, one that is humane, impartial, and a win-win for the migrant, employer, and American society.