Guantanamo detainees would be prevented from transferring to the United States, under legislation offered by Rep. Marsha Blackburn.
The proposal is a direct response to the swap of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, a five-year captive in Afghanistan, for five Taliban leaders held at Guantanamo. Even though the terror suspects were sent abroad, the Tennessee Republican argues this is an opportune moment to provide a long-term solution to the detainee transfer issue - a situation that has vexed two presidential administrations since shortly after 9/11.
Blackburn and colleagues contend President Barack Obama willfully and intentionally violated rules pertaining to the transfer of Gitmo terrorist detainees in the Bergdahl deal. So her bill would make it illegal to transfer Gitmo terror suspects into the U.S., punishable by a fine and up to five years in federal prison.
"One of President Obama's first acts in office was signing an executive order to close Guantanamo Bay. This past weekend an Administration official said that Guantanamo detainees should be brought to the United States 'for detention and trial and prosecution,' Blackburn said in a recent statement about her Gitmo bill.
"The Bergdahl swap involving the transfer of five senior Taliban detainees to a beach resort in Qatar was not only illegal, it put a bounty on the head of every brave man and woman serving our country overseas. Housing terrorists on American soil would put communities at risk and cost hard working taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. My bill will prevent Guantanamo detainees or any other foreign terrorists who take up arms against the United States from being transferred to American soil."
Bringing Gitmo detainees onto American soil has long been a thorny issue for the Obama administration. Following the federal government's purchase of the Thomson Correctional Facility in Carroll County, Illinois, for $165 million, many nearby residents expressed fear that the Obama administration would use it to house Gitmo terror suspects like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. In recent weeks a Senate committee and the full House have passed nearly $60 million in funding to remodel and set the stages for the opening of Thomson Prison.