LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com/AP) — Despite a federal court’s blockage of President Trump’s ban on travelers and refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries, including Syria, U.S. immigration authorities are barring entry to a 21-year- old Syrian cinematographer who worked on a harrowing film about his nation’s civil war, “The White Helmets,” which was nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary Short, The Associated Press reported Saturday.
According to internal Trump administration correspondence seen by The AP, the Department of Homeland Security decided at the last minute to block Khaled Khatib from traveling to Los Angeles for Sunday night’s Oscars ceremony.
Khatib had been issued a visa to enter the United States and was scheduled to arrive Saturday in Los Angeles on a Turkish Airlines flight departing from Istanbul. But his plans were upended after U.S. officials reported finding “derogatory information’ against Khatib, according to the AP. Derogatory information is a broad category that can include everything from terror connections to passport irregularities.
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The AP reported that Turkish authorities detained Khatib earlier this week, although it was not clear why.
A message on Khatib’s Twitter account sent Saturday said, “I get US visa but I haven’t traveled to U.S At all and I won’t travel to OSCAR due to intensity of work, our priority is helping our people.”
CBS News reported Saturday that one if its reporters spoke with Khatib by phone, and the cinematographer said he was in Istanbul and had not been detained, but he declined to elaborate.
The Department of Homeland Security did not return a call for comment. Attempts to reach the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences for comment were unsuccessful.
“The White Helmets” is a 40-minute Netflix documentary about volunteers, known as White Helmets, who work to rescue Syrians affected by the civil war.
In addition to “White Helmets,” the other four nominees in the category of Best Documentary Short are “Extremis,” “4.1 Miles,” “Joe’s Violin” and “Watani: My Homeland.”
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)