Syrian Cinematographer Khaled Khateeb, whose film was nominated for Best Documentary Short, has been barred from attending the Academy Awards. U.S. Immigration and the Department of Homeland Security decided last minute to block Khateeb from flying into Los Angeles due to U.S. officials reportedly finding "derogatory information," according to The Hollywood Reporter. The information on Khateeb came from an internal correspondence within the Trump Administration which was obtained by the Associated Press.
Syria is one of the seven countries that was initially a part of Trump's travel ban (which was, in effect, a Muslim ban). The new draft of the revised immigration ban reportedly includes the same seven countries, so it appears that U.S. Immigration authorities are still on high alert for those entering the country from Syria. And while the new version of the travel ban doesn't strictly reject refugees entering the U.S. from Syria (as the last one did), the cap for the number of immigrations allowed into the U.S. over the entire year is so low that refugees will be turned away across the board very soon. According to Fortune, Trump's refugee cap is 50,000, which is less than half of Obama's. And already this year we've taken in more that 35,000 refugees. That leaves only 15,000 spots over the next 10 months.
Khateeb's movie, The White Helmets, is about the Syrian Civil War and the men who risk their lives to search for survivors in Aleppo. Given all of the above information about Trump's travel ban, it seems like no mistake that 21-year-old Khateeb has been targeted. While he had previously been issued a visa to attend the awards ceremony, "Turkish authorities detained him this week," THR reports, "and he suddenly needed a passport waiver from the United States to enter the country." The internal communications also made clear that Khateeb would not be receiving the required waiver.
This news comes within 24-hours of news that several high profile individuals were detained, including Muhammad Ali Jr. and children's book author Mem Fox. You can watch the trailer for Khateeb's film here: