Federal prison union endorses Gitmo transfers to U.S.

The union for federal prison officers said it supports transferring the prisoners being kept at the Guantanamo Bay prison into the U.S. federal prison system.

The announcement comes as the White House actively looks for ways to close the Cuba-based prison, which houses several hundred suspected enemy combatants from the wars Iraq and Afghanistan.

President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaTrump struggles to win over voters reaping economic boom Michelle Obama weighs in on Trump, 'Squad' feud: 'Not my America or your America. It's our America' Media cried wolf: Calling every Republican a racist lost its bite MORE’s efforts have come under fire recently from Republicans who are vehemently opposed to bringing any of the prisoners into the prison systems in their states. The criticisms vary, with some arguing that the high-profile prisoners would put their local communities at risk of attack, while others say that the facilities could serve as a network for the foreign prisoners to spread their radical ideology.

On Wednesday Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderFeds will not charge officer who killed Eric Garner The old 'state rights' and the new state power The Hill's Morning Report — Harris brings her A game to Miami debate MORE and Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinDemocrats pledge to fight Trump detention policy during trip to border Dems open to killing filibuster in next Congress Democrats warm to idea of studying reparations MORE (D-Ill.) acknowledged during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that the Illinois state Thomson Correctional Center – a maximum security prison about 150 miles west of Chicago – would be one of the most secure options where the detainees could be transferred.

The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), which represents more than 600,000 correctional officers throughout the country, agreed.

“We fully support housing Guantanamo Bay detainees at the Thomson Correctional Center,” said John Gage, AFGE’s president, in a statement.

“This is an opportunity to bring thousands of good-paying jobs to an area in desperate need of an economic revival. Furthermore, we do not see a safety risk to the surrounding community. Our correctional officers are the best-trained, most-qualified candidates in the world for this job. We have no doubt [Bureau of Prison] correctional officers are up to the task.”

Durbin too has plugged the plethora of jobs and other economic benefits that would be created by transferring the Guantanamo Bay prisoners to the Illinois-based prison.

But at a press conference on Wednesday, the top-ranking House Republicans on the committees with jurisdiction over prisoner detainee issues pledged to do everything they could to thwart Obama’s plan to transfer the prisoners to the U.S. But as a minority party with 40 fewer members than the Democrats, the GOP may have little sway on the ultimate outcome.

Another prison union, the Council of Prison Locals (CPL), disagreed with the Republican worries, saying that the communities around the prisons holding the detainees would remain free from harm.

“Supervising terrorists is nothing new for our BOP correctional officers,” said Bryan Lowry, president of the CPL, in a statement.

“They’ve maintained a safe and secure environment at Supermax and they can do it at the Thomson Correctional Center. We welcome the idea of protecting our nation, and the world, from these detainees.”