Posted on October 21, 2020

Filmmaker’s Loyalties Shaken After Making Illegal Immigration Documentary

Hollie McKay, Fox News, October 16, 2020

When filmmaker Namrata Singh Gujral set off to make the documentary, “America’s Forgotten,” in the early summer of 2019, she thought she would be bringing to life a remarkably different film pertaining to the trials and tribulations of those trying to unlawfully cross the U.S. border.

“I started reading stories of tragedy, of families trying to cross the Rio Grande, and it really resonated with me. I wanted to show their persecution. I bled and bought the narrative that the media and my party, the Democrats, had sold me,” Gujral told Fox News. “But then when I started making this, the things I found were eye-opening. I realized the narrative I had been sold and supported was not the real truth. Illegal immigration is a terrible practice that should not only be discouraged, but it should be stopped.”

Gujral said it has shaken her political loyalties and caused her to question everything she once thought she knew about the southern border. For months, the entertainment industry veteran journeyed the globe to explore how other countries grapple with the dangers of illegal immigration. She also purveyed her own border state of California, seeking out stories of individuals struggling with the ripple effects of unauthorized crossers – in particular, parents who lost their children by the actions of illegal immigrants.


Then there is the raw interview with parents who lost their son – a 911 dispatcher in the process of becoming a police officer – who was slain by an illegal immigrant while riding his motorcycle to work. The mother, who wears her child’s ashes around her neck, remembers how the at-fault driver refused to apologize in court and was released from prison after just 35 days – while the family is left to endure a life sentence.

“America’s Forgotten” also points to other trickle-down consequences of illegal immigration. Woven throughout the narrative is the story of a homeless U.S. veteran of the Iraq War, who resides on the gray concrete slabs outside the manicured Veteran’s Affairs property on the west side of Los Angeles. Battling the demons of addiction and post-traumatic stress, he claims he could not get a construction job because of his lack of Spanish speaking skills.

However, on the “other” side of the almost 2000-mile jagged border, Gujral said she interviewed more than 150 different people purporting to step foot on U.S. soil: the injured, the poor, the vulnerable. However, the reasons for fleeing their homes – she said – were very rarely on the basis of seeking asylum.

“I would say that at least 95 percent I spoke to had no asylum basis to come here other than to seek a better life,” she surmised. {snip}

Gujral recalled meeting one family who had three motorhomes in Central America and well-stuffed bank accounts, stressing that was just one of many examples of those who had successfully played the system and had been living in Los Angeles for seven years.

“America’s Forgotten” draws on how unscrupulous “coyotes” — human smugglers that bring migrants across the U.S. border – pad their pockets with fat wads of cash from immigrants by using talking points and debate videos to urge more people to cross over under the ruse that they will receive free health care and food stamps.


“As many as one in three women are raped on their journey to the U.S., whether that is being part of a migrant caravan or on their own,” Gujral conjectured.

Some are sold multiple times a day to different cartels or drug fiends, raped and assaulted, left by the wayside wounded and weeping. The director also pointed to a sense of “misplaced compassion” – questioning why not enough people point fingers at parents who risk the lives of their young children, knowing full well they don’t have a certifiable need for asylum.


Yet given the sensitivity and fraught emotion that often encircles the issue of immigration, especially in the typically left-leaning enclave of Hollywood, Gujral is bracing for a backlash as “America’s Forgotten” becomes available for streaming on Friday.