7 years ago

Obama submits plan to Congress to shut down Gitmo detention camp once and for all

TomoNews US
TomoNews US
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Tuesday, U.S. President Barack Obama submitted to Congress a plan to close the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. Obama hopes to fulfill a campaign promise and one of his national security goals to shut the facility down.

In a press conference from the Roosevelt Room at the White House, the president urged cooperation from Congress and said that the prison wasted money, raised tensions with allies and fueled anti-American sentiments abroad.

The Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba currently holds 91 detainees, according to the closing plan submitted to Congress. To close the prison, President Obama proposed bringing 30-60 high-value detainees to domestic prisons, and sending the remaining abroad.

According to the plan, 13 potential sites have been examined for transferring the detainees. Military prisons such as Fort Leavenworth in Kansas and and Fort Charleston in South Carolina, as well as several civilian prisons in Colorado are among the prisons being considered to hold the detainees.

A one-time renovation to existing state or federal prisons will cost between $290 million and $475 million, but Pentagon estimates that this is still $65 million to $85 million less annually than keeping the detainees in Guantanamo.

Representative Robert W. Goodlatte, the Virginia Republican who is chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, say the detainees should remain out of the U.S. for security reasons. Senator Michael Bennet, Democrat of Colorado, released a statement supporting the closing of the prison but detainees should be transferred to military prisons and not civilian prisons.

House Speaker Paul Ryan dismissed the plan, saying that Congress will continue to be against the plan to close down the Guantanamo detention center.

"Congress has left no room for confusion," Ryan said in a statement. "It is against the law — and it will stay against the law — to transfer terrorist detainees to American soil. We will not jeopardize our national security over a campaign promise."

The White House has refused to comment on whether President Obama would consider taking executive action to close the prison if negotiations with Congress fail.

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