U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin supports closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay, but wants to see the legal rationale for President Obama doing so without going through Congress.
There have been hints Obama will try to close the detention center by executive action, but the new defense bill passed by Congress, and signed by Obama, includes a provision banning detainees from the camp from being transferred to the United States.U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) voted for the bill despite being opposed to the provision, arguing similar prisoners are currently being held on U.S. soil, even in Illinois.
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“We have hundreds of convicted terrorists serving time in the prisons of America, federal prisons, including Marion, Illinois, and no one even raises an issue about it. There’s no fear, and there shouldn’t be,” Durbin said. “They’re being held. Safely, securely held, and that’s the way I think we can close Guantanamo and still keep America safe.”In 2009, the Obama administration had plans to buy the state prison in Thomson, Illinois to house Guantanamo detainees. Durbin points out that’s no longer possible, as the final sale to the federal government specifically prohibits the facility from receiving anyone held at Guantanamo.