GOP leaders: Obama administration’s purchase of prison a backdoor move to import terrorists

“A majority of the American people and a bipartisan majority in Congress oppose bringing the terrorists imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay into the United States, yet the White House continues to take steps to move forward with its dangerous plan,” Boehner said in a statement Tuesday. “The unilateral decision to purchase the Thomson Prison — even though Congress has repeatedly opposed the Obama administration’s effort to use taxpayer funds to do so — underscores the administration’s desire to move forward and bring these detainees to U.S. soil.”

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) agreed with Boehner and added that suspected terrorists held at Guantanamo shouldn’t get the same legal rights as Americans.

“Terrorists don’t deserve the same legal rights as the Americans they’re targeting,” McConnell said in a statement Tuesday. “We should be focused on stopping terrorists, not defending them. And Americans would rather their tax dollars be spent preventing attacks from terrorists, than spent bringing them into their cities and towns as the Obama administration has repeatedly tried to achieve.”

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) applauded the purchase, saying it would bring more than a thousand jobs to his state. The Department of Justice, on behalf of the federal Bureau of Prisons, filed documents in the United States District Court Tuesday for the Northern District of Illinois in Rockford to buy Thomson Correctional Center for $165 million.

“Congress has repeatedly rejected the Obama administration’s effort to use taxpayer funds to purchase this prison,” McConnell said. “It is clear that the funding law that Sen. Durbin voted for and President Obama signed does not suddenly authorize what Congress has repeatedly denied. This election-eve purchase comes at the expense of delaying approved projects that are not in the President’s home state.  And there is overwhelming, bipartisan opposition to the President’s plan to transfer terrorists from the secure detention facility at Guantanamo Bay into the United States.”

Thomson Prison was built in 2001 as a state-of-the-art, maximum-security prison to house the most severe criminal offenders but has mostly sat vacant.

Boehner said Obama owes the American people an explanation for going against their will.

“House Republicans have kept our Pledge to America to keep the terrorist detainees at Guantanamo Bay out the United States, and we will continue to keep our pledge,” Boehner said. “President Obama owes the American people an explanation about how importing these dangerous terrorists and giving them the same rights as U.S. citizens will make us any safer. Republicans will continue to oppose this dangerous plan.”