Oscar-nominated director Emad Burnat risked being deported at LAX

The Oscars are on tonight! This year’s Oscars are heavily charged with many political internationally-geared films like Zero Dark Thirty and Argo fighting it out for the coveted Best Picture Award. Oscar Nominee Threatened with Deportation

With many other categories like Best Foreign Film, people from all over the world attend the Oscars, but getting into the United States to attend the high-security awards show doesn’t always go so smoothly.

For example, the Palestinian director of 5 Broken Cameras, which is nominated for Best Documentary Feature, was held at the LAX airport by immigration officials last week for almost two hours because he could not produce proof he was an Academy Award Nominee – something that a five-second Google search could easily answer.

Emad Burnat almost denied entry to the United States

The director, Emad Burnat, did not have any immediate proof on hand, and was threatened with deportation by the immigration officials.

Eventually, he was allowed to leave thanks to a little help from Michael Moore. Famous director and Oscar winner Michael Moore (Canadian Bacon, Bowling for Columbine) tweeted about the issue and wrote a blog on his official website, detailing how he had helped Burnat out.

“’They are saying they are going to put us on the next plane back to Amman,’ he told me.
“I immediately contacted the Academy CEO Dawn Hudson and COO Ric Robertson, who in turn told Academy President Hawk Koch. They got ahold of the Academy’s attorney who is also partners with a top immigration attorney and they went to work on it. I called the State Department in DC.
“I told Emad to give the Homeland Security people my name and cell number and to have them call me ASAP so I could explain who he was and why they should let him go.
“After being held for somewhere between one and two hours, with repeated suggestions that the U.S. may not let him into the country – saying that they may send him back home – the authorities relented and released Emad and his family.”

Not everyone knows Michael Moore, so it’s always wise to carry documentation that explains your purposes for travel to the United States.

Who do you think will win tonight? Have you seen all of the nominated films?

Michael Niren

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more

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