Kris Kobach on Homeland Security
Congressional Summary: To extend and enhance limitations on the transfer or release of individuals detained at Guantanamo Bay. No amounts appropriated for any agency of the US Government may be used, for two years, to construct or modify any facility in the US, to house an individual detained at Guantanamo.
Proponents reasons for voting YEA: Rep. WALORSKI: 21 terrorists have been released just in November alone to foreign countries. This measure would repeal current law that has allowed the administration to transfer prisoners to foreign countries and reduce the population at GTMO down to 127. Detainees at GTMO pose a real threat to our national security. HR 401 would prohibit any detainee transfers to Yemen. Yemen's branch of al Qaeda was founded by former GTMO detainees. We cannot risk trusting the world's most dangerous terrorists to its most dangerous places, nor should we simply cut them loose in rich, stable countries with no security safeguards in place.
Opponents reasons for voting NAY: (CloseGuantanamo.org article, Jan. 2015): The prison at Guantanamo Bay has been open for 13 years. In 2009, President Obama pledged to close Guantanamo within a year. Yet it remains open, undermining America's values and national security. Almost half of the remaining 122 prisoners--55 men in total--were cleared for release in 2010 through 2013. Some of these men were previously cleared by the Bush Administration--some as long ago as 2004. It is unacceptable that the U.S. government continues to hold men that its own national security experts have recommended for release or transfer, and that Congress has intervened to maintain this deplorable state of affairs. We call for the immediate closure of Guantanamo. Guantanamo harms our nation every day it stays open, and it continues to serve as a potent symbol for terrorist recruitment.
Excerpts from Letter to Pres. Obama: In 2008,the City of Leavenworth initially became aware of the possibility of a transfer of Guantanamo Bay detainees. We understand that the Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth is the only maximum security prison within the Department of Defense. However, you must understand our justifiable trepidation about moving to Kansas some of the most dangerous terrorists in the world. Should this transfer move forward, many of our Middle Eastern allies who send officers to train at Fort Leavenworth will likely stop the practice. The people of Leavenworth, Kansas--regardless of political parties--are strongly against transferring Guantanamo detainees to American soil.
Opposing argument: (ACLU, "Wasted Opportunities," Feb. 2, 2017): The ACLU has repeatedly stated that the prison at Guantanamo Bay is an affront to American values and the rule of law. But detention at Guantanamo breaks the budget as much as it is wrong. This unnecessary and wasteful spending comes at a time when budgets are shrinking and even the most vital programs for veterans, service members, and their families are subject to painful cuts. The injustice of Guantanamo is costing us a fortune.
Supporting argument: (Cato Institute, "A Problem for the Next Person in Charge," Feb. 23, 2016) President Obama's plan to close the Guantanamo Bay prison is really a plea to Congress to stop banning the transfer of detainees to the US for trial or indefinite detention. The administration argues that closing Gitmo is a "national security imperative" and a resource drain. Both points are overstated. Yes, Gitmo is bad for the nationís image but there is little evidence that the prison, as opposed to US wars, generates terrorism. Yes, closing the prison would save $335 million over 10 years, but that is .00005% of projected Pentagon spending over the decade, leaving aside war costs.