MEDFORD, Ore. – A Rogue Valley businessman is home for the holidays after retracing his own journey from El Salvador as an undocumented immigrant.
Laz Ayala is putting a face on one of the most divisive issues in our nation through his documentary: Illegal The Project. Ayala traveled to El Salvador with only 12 days, 8 people and one goal in mind.
“We came back with the strong sense that we are going to be able to deliver something that I hope opens up some positive dialogue and humanizes the conversation.”
Ayala is all too familiar with the struggle migrants face in their quest for the American dream. At only 14 he crossed the border into the u-s in the trunk of a car and began his life as an undocumented immigrant.
“I tell people I was a dreamer 30 something years ago because I went through the same experience, it hasn’t been easy but I also recognize life isn’t easy.”
On this roughly two week trip… Ayala and his crew traveled back through to El Salvador and into Tijuana. All in an effort to document the struggle of migrating to America.
“It says a lot about their courage their determination but I think it also says a lot about the conditions they were escaping, these are very determined people, they’re fighters, they’re survivors and I think they deserve some credit for that.”
After his journey these past days, he’s hoping that his project will open the door for more understanding.
“Hopefully create awareness and as a result of that hopefully change the narrative.”
Ayala is still has filming to do around the rogue valley to finish up the story. He’s hoping the project will be finished in mid-2019.
Devin Gooden graduated from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication with a Master’s degree in Sports Journalism.
She has spent most of her life in Atlanta, Georgia and received her undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia in Business Management.
When she’s not reporting, Devin practices yoga, reads thriller novels and loudly cheers for her beloved Georgia Bulldawgs.