GOP congressmen from Colorado assail Gitmo transfer possibility
Two more of Colorado’s GOP congressmen have come out against the possibility of transferring Guantanamo Bay detainees to their state.
“The people of Colorado do not want the world’s worst terrorists housed in our own backyard, and we will not stand for this,” Rep. Doug Lamborn said in a written statement. “I will do everything in my power to resist these unlawful terrorist transfers from taking place.”
The Pentagon confirmed Friday that in the next few weeks it will visit two Colorado prisons to assess possibly transferring Guantanamo detainees. The prisons are Colorado State Penitentiary near Canon City and the Federal Correctional Institute in Florence.
President Obama has been working to close the military facility at Guantanamo Bay to keep a promise from his first campaign for president. But the administration has struggled to find a place to house those who are considered too dangerous to be transferred to other countries.
Right now, there are 114 detainees at Guantanamo. Fifty-three of them have been cleared for transfer to foreign countries.
A provision in this year’s National Defense Authorization Act would extend the prohibition on transferring Guantanamo detainees stateside.
The bill passed the House last week and will be taken up by the Senate on Tuesday. But Obama has threatened to veto it, mostly for issues related to budget caps.
The latest visits come after August tours of Fort Leavenworth, Kan., and the Naval Consolidated Brig in Charleston, S.C. Those visits drew fierce opposition from Republican lawmakers in those states.
Lamborn’s congressional district encompasses both prisons. In his statement, he slammed the Obama administration for reviewing potential relocation sites when it would be illegal to transfer detainees to anywhere in the United States.
“It is outrageous and unacceptable for President Obama to waste time and taxpayer dollars on a dangerous fantasy that will go nowhere,” he said.
In a statement on his Facebook page, Rep. Mike Coffman called transferring Guantanamo detainees to Colorado “outrageous.”
“I’ll do everything I can to stop it,” he said. “The Obama administration views terrorist attacks as just another criminal justice problem where terrorists should be afforded all of the due process protections that bringing them onto U.S. soil will provide.
“These hardened terrorists, who have perverted Islam into a political ideology, are irregular enemy combatants who should be housed at Guantanamo, and not in Colorado or in any other state.”
Back in early September, when reports first surfaced that Colorado sites might be among those considered by the Pentagon, Sen. Cory Gardner and Rep. Scott Tipton, both Colorado Republicans, also admonished the plan.