Bill would prohibit Gitmo transfers

A Republican bill would criminalize the transfer of Guantánamo Bay detainees to the U.S.

The prohibition outlined in the measure introduced by Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Frank Wolf (R-Va.) would be in effect through 2017.  Anyone found to assist in the transfer of a Guantánamo detainee would face up to five years in prison. 

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However, the bill would not apply to detainees who are American citizens.

Blackburn said the controversial exchange of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for five Taliban members detained at the U.S.-run facility in Cuba necessitated a long-term prohibition.

"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," Blackburn said.

Wolf argued that terrorist suspects detained at Guantánamo Bay should not be entitled to the same legal rights as Americans.

"The detainees at Guantánamo were not arrested in the United States; they are terrorists who want to kill Americans. Bringing them to the U.S. would provide them with constitutional protections that they are not entitled to," Wolf said.

Blackburn and Wolf's bill would prevent Congress from having to fight over prohibiting detainee transfers in annual appropriations bills each ye Guantánamo ar. 

Two of the 2015 appropriations bills passed by the House, military construction-Veterans Affairs and Commerce-Justice-science, include provisions that bar the administration from using funds to house or transfer Guantánamo Bay detainees. 

Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) offered an amendment to the Commerce-Justice-science bill that would have eliminated the provision that prohibits transfers of Guantánamo detainees to the U.S. But it was defeated 169-230. 

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