About Lazaro “Laz” Ayala

Lazaro “Laz” Ayala is a naturalized U.S. citizen from El Salvador, an entrepreneur, philanthropist, filmmaker, and author. Laz came to the U.S. fleeing the violence of the Salvadoran Civil War in 1981, just days after the December 11th massacre during which the Salvadoran Army wiped out the village of El Mozote, killing 800 civilians.

Today, Laz is a successful entrepreneur in Ashland, Oregon. He owns several companies, has numerous rental properties, and is involved in multi-million-dollar real estate development projects in the area. These accomplishments have allowed Laz to give back to his communities in Southern Oregon and El Salvador. Over the years, he has built a soccer field for a local charter school and established a scholarship program for DACA students at Southern Oregon University. In his hometown of San Ildefonso, Laz has led projects to provide clean water and safe, affordable, fuel-efficient cookstoves to replace dangerous open cooking fires.

As the producer of his first feature-length film and author of his autobiography, both titled Illegal, Laz hopes to bridge the gap between the current story the American media portrays of undocumented immigrants and the real stories of so many who make the long and dangerous journey in search of a better life.