Tuesday, February 23, 2016
U.S. President Obama announced a new plan today to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay before he leaves office. However, his proposal cannot go forward unless Congress agrees to lift legal restrictions on transferring detainees from Guantanamo Bay to the continental United States.
At its peak, Guantanamo Bay housed nearly 800 detainees. That number has been reduced to 91. Some of those detainees may be eligible for transfer to third countries (35 of the 91 have been deemed eligible already); others are involved in pending military commission proceedings; and a third group may continue to be held indefinitely in other facilities.
Although the Obama Administration estimates that this plan could save money and enhance national security by eliminating a propaganda tool for terrorists, the likelihood of its success is in doubt. The Republican-controlled Congress has not indicated significant interest in allowing detainees to be transferred into the United States due to security concerns.