Emad Burnat, the Palestinian co-director of best documentary Oscar nominee 5 Broken Cameras, issued a statement on Wednesday  after he was questioned by immigration officers at LAX following his arrival in advance of Sunday’s Oscar ceremony.
Burnat and his family were detained by officials upon entry into the US on Tuesday. After approximately one-and-a-half hours the film-maker, his wife and eight-year-old son were allowed into the country.
Michael Moore first brought the matter to light when he tweeted about the incident on Tuesday evening. Burnat is the first Palestinian documentary film-maker to be nominated for an Oscar.
“Last night, on my way from Turkey to Los Angeles, CA, my family and I were held at US immigration for about an hour and questioned about the purpose of my visit to the United States,” Burnat’s statement read.
“Immigration officials asked for proof that I was nominated for an Academy Award for the documentary 5 Broken Cameras [pictured] and they told me that if I couldn’t prove the reason for my visit, my wife Soraya, my son Gibreel and I would be sent back to Turkey on the same day.
“After 40 minutes of questions and answers, Gibreel asked me why we were still waiting in that small room. I simply told him the truth: ‘Maybe we’ll have to go back.’ I could see his heart sink.
“Although this was an unpleasant experience, this is a daily occurrence for Palestinians, every single day, throughout the West Bank.
“There are more than 500 Israeli checkpoints, roadblocks, and other barriers to movement across our land, and not a single one of us has been spared the experience that my family and I experienced yesterday. Ours was a very minor example of what my people face every day.”