Phil Klay Tweets Best Response to America's Refugee Phobia


After the House of Representatives passed a bill on Thursday that would essentially deny Syrian and Iraqi refugees entry to the United States, Iraq War veteran and author Phil Klay posted a poignant Twitter rant that challenges the refugee phobia spreading across the U.S. in wake of the Paris attacks.

In a 17-tweet denouncement, Klay laid into the American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act. Under the act, a refugee would not be admitted unless "the secretary of Homeland Security, with the unanimous concurrence of the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the director of National Intelligence, certifies to the appropriate Congressional committees that the covered alien is not a threat to the security of the United States."

In the tweets, Klay said he was "tremendously upset" with the decision, citing that as an officer in the U.S. Marines, he swore an oath to uphold Constitutional values and American ideals, which he said include "forging strong links in the Muslim world against extremism."

"I get that people are scared," Klay wrote at the climax of his tweet storm. "But it's only during frightening times when you get to find out if your country really deserves to call itself the 'home of the brave.'"

In the aftermath of the Paris attacks that left 129 dead and hundreds more wounded, a Syrian passport was found next to the body of one of the suicide bombers. Since then, there have been numerous reports suggesting the passport was either fraudulent or stolen. Still, dozens of U.S. governors have announced they will refuse to admit Syrian refugees to their state. While it's questionable whether governors possess such authority, Thursday's House vote more or less banned Syrian and Iraqi refugees from the entire nation. President Barack Obama maintains that he will veto any such bill, but his ability to veto would be overridden should the bill pass the Senate with a two-thirds majority, as it did in the House.

Klay is the author of Redeployment, the 2014 recipient of the National Book Award for fiction, which he wrote after returning from Iraq. The book is a collection of short fiction stories based on Klay's experiences as a U.S. Marine officer during wartime.

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