One Immigrant's Life Or Death Journey To The American Dream
documentary coming soon!
Illegal - One Immigrant's Life Or Death Journey To The American Dream
From “Dreamer” to living the American dream, Illegal is a feature-length documentary about the miraculous journey of Salvadoran immigrant Lazaro “Laz” Ayala, the challenges of present-day immigration, and his mission to humanize immigrants and reform immigration for the benefit of all.
This story begins as Laz journeys back to his childhood home in El Salvador where we learn about the bitter civil war of the 1980s. A war that pushed him out of his homeland into a dangerous, 3,000-mile journey to the United States at only 14-years-old. Illegal chronicles his arduous path north on the Pan American Highway with his father and brother where at any moment they could be discovered and turned back.
But, there was no other option. Tortured and decapitated bodies began to appear in his hometown, friends went missing, Laz’s father was placed on the death squad list, and Laz and his brother were recruited as child soldiers by the military. Despite their love of country and community, they knew they had to flee to survive.
Crammed into the trunk of a brown Cadilac, Laz and his family cross the border as undocumented immigrants facing an unknown future in a foreign land.
They settle with a relative in Southern California, hoping to establish a safe life for themselves. Yet, Laz finds himself bullied in school and on his own at 16 when the family home becomes unsafe due to the threat of deportation. In the midst of these mounting challenges, Laz remains focused on completing high school where he dreams of one day going to college and becoming an “American success story”. Despite his resilience, Laz’s dreams are thwarted once again as he is denied admission to community college due to his legal status.
Unwavering in following his dreams, he risks it all again, moving to rural Oregon to place himself on the path of destiny. In order to make a name for himself, Laz must overcome insurmountable odds. He begins studying real estate and joins the Century 21 team. Although inexperienced and challenged by the language barrier, Laz does not give up, knocking on countless doors to win clients.
Laz’s first sale proves to be the breakthrough to his economic success. Consequently, he becomes one of the best brokers in the area, creating his own real estate business. In the early 2000s, Laz invests in properties and forms a residential development business, known as KDA Homes. Today, he leads the planning and development of sustainable, multi-million-dollar, energy-efficient developments in Southern Oregon.
How he rises through the ranks to become one of the area’s seven-figure earners, an employer of many, and a U.S. citizen could be story enough. However, the story does not end here. As a successful businessman, Laz lowers the opportunity ladder by giving back to his community in Southern Oregon and abroad in El Salvador. And now, is tackling another project – undocumented immigration.
Amidst the turbulent narrative surrounding immigration today, Laz confronts the matter head-on, discovering the truth and proposing a solution that would give voice and better opportunities to immigrants and accountability and a much-needed labor force to the U.S. employer. In essence, a common-sense solution that is beneficial to immigrants, employers, and the entire nation.