Let Syrian Oscar Nominated Producer of LAST MEN IN ALEPPO into the United States!
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On March 6, 2017, President Donald Trump signed Executive Order 13780 titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” which places limits on travel to the U.S. from Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen and on September 24, 2017, President Trump signed Presidential Proclamation 9645, which restricts entry into the US from eight countries, including Syria. The US Supreme Court subsequently allowed the ban to go into effect while legal challenges are pending.
On January 23rd, 2018, Kareem Abeed (producer), Soeren Steen Jespersen (producer) and Feras Fayyad (director) received Oscar® nominations for their documentary film "Last Men in Aleppo", the first Syrian film ever to be nominated.
On February 19th, 2018, Abeed’s application for a visa to enable him to attend the Academy Awards ceremony on March 4, 2018 was denied due to his status as a Syrian national, with no possibility for appeal. This despite the fact that he clearly fits at least one of the 10 stated examples for a possible waiver of the ban in section 3 of the Order:
3(c)(iii): The foreign national seeks to enter the United States for significant business or professional obligations and the denial of entry during the suspension period would impair those obligations.
We the undersigned cannot believe that we live in a world where we feel we have to do this.
We the undersigned also believe that this action is a blatant and obvious farce. While we can all agree that doing our best to avoid allowing terrorists to enter the United States is in the best interest of the nation, this order is akin to cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face. It is patently racist and creates fear and enmity at home and abroad, doing great harm to people all over the world. It splits families apart and denies hard-working men and women the chance to come to a country that was created by and flourished through, the hard work of immigrants and refugees.
As supporters of filmmakers and the freedom of expression and as supporters of rational and considered thought and policy as well as the human rights of all people, we the undersigned stand in solidarity with Kareem Abeed, Feras Fayyad and all those affected by this unjust order and hereby petition Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and the U.S. State Department to grant a visa waiver to Last Men in Aleppo producer Kareem Abeed and revisit this short-sighted policy.
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