Obama's New Plan to Close Gitmo: Move 56 Inmates to US

Plan would see 35 detainees moved to other countries
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 23, 2016 11:03 AM CST
Obama's New Plan to Close Gitmo: Move 56 Inmates to US
President Barack Obama speaks at the White House, Feb. 23, 2016.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

The White House responded to Congress' request for a blueprint for the closure of Guantanamo Bay on Tuesday—though NPR reports that President Obama's proposed plan is "not expected to go very far." It would see 35 of Guantanamo's 91 inmates transferred to other countries by this summer, while the remaining detainees would be moved to one or several of 13 possible military and federal prisons in the United States, per the Washington Post and the AP. At least some of the sites under consideration are in South Carolina, Kansas, and Colorado. The move would require up to $475 million in construction costs, though officials say closing Guantanamo will save $180 million per year. Annual operating costs for the US facilities would range from $265 million to $305 million.

Since a law exists barring Guantanamo detainees from US soil, Congress would need to alter it to approve the plan. Critics say it would put Americans' safety at risk and the mayor of Leavenworth, Kan.—home to the maximum security Army prison under consideration for Guantanamo detainees—previously told NPR that she's "absolutely against" Guantanamo prisoners moving there. Many locals in Canon City, Colo., home to the Centennial Correctional Facility also under consideration, feel similarly. In a live address on Tuesday, however, Obama argued that "Guantanamo Bay does not advance our national security. It undermines it." He also called the prison center a propaganda tool for terrorist groups like the Islamic State. (Read more Guantanamo Bay stories.)

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