Obama announces plan to close controversial detention facility

Feb 23, 2016

Photo credit: Paolo Pellegrin/Magnum

By Halimah Abdullah

President Barack Obama on Tuesday presented a long-awaited plan to Congress to shut down the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, insisting that keeping the prison open is “contrary to our values.”

“It’s been clear that the detention center at Guantanamo Bay does not advance our national security,” Obama said from the Roosevelt Room at the White House. “It undermines our standing in the world.”

The plan, which has been on Obama’s agenda since he took office in 2009, hinges on the transfer of between 30 and 60 detainees to U.S. soil, and suggests several possible locations in South Carolina, Kansas and Colorado. The rest of the 91 detainees at the prison would be sent to other countries.

There are currently 35 detainees eligible for transfer, and the plan calls for an accelerated review of remaining detainees to determine whether they pose a threat — and, if not, if they should be eligible for transfer.

Obama will likely face pushback from Republicans in Congress. Both chambers have repeatedly passed legislation banning any effort to move detainees to the U.S.

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