Feb 23, 2016 (WASHINGTON) President Barack Obama has ordered the closure of the Guantamo Bay, and he has sent a plan to do so to Congress. He stated “For many years, it has been clear that the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay does not advance our national security—it undermines it. It’s counterproductive to our fight against terrorists, who use it as propaganda in their efforts to recruit. It drains military resources, with nearly $450 million spent last year alone to keep it running and more than $200 million in additional costs needed to keep it open going forward. Guantanamo harms our partnerships with allies and other countries whose cooperation we need against terrorism.”. He added that this was not just his view, but also the view of experts. It has become a matter used by terrorists to recruit people to the cause.
The plan was sent to the Department of Defense. There are 91 detainees still remaining at the facility. Moreover, these are the steps being taken right now:
“To close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, the U.S. Government is pursuing three lines of effort simultaneously: (1) identifying transfer opportunities for detainees designated for transfer; (2) continuing to review the threat posed by those detainees who are not currently eligible for transfer and who are not currently facing military commission charges; and (3) continuing with ongoing military commissions prosecutions and, for those detainees who remain designated for continued law of war detention, identifying individualized dispositions where available, including military commission prosecution, transfer to third countries, foreign prosecutions or, should Congress lift the ban on transfers to the United States, transfer to the United States for prosecution in Article III courts and to serve sentence”
However, there is a limited number who will have to remain in US custody, and for these transfer to facilities within the Continental United States is what is being proposed. These are federal prisons.
Candidates on the trail on the republican side have already reacted negatively on this. Senator Marco Rubio for example, has already pledged to never close Guantamo. On the other side of the political divide, House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, has come out in favor of it. In a statement he said: “I applaud past efforts to pass legislation authorizing the closure of the detention center in a way that ensures Americans’ safety and reaffirms our nation’s role as a beacon for justice in the world. I will continue to work with my colleagues to press for Congress to give the President the tools he needs to do so.”
While at one time there was agreement that Guantamo Bay was damaging to the US, in the current political environment, the Republicans will fight it. Evidence for this is clear from statements on the trail and other places.