McConnell: Obama’s Plan to Close Guantanamo Is ‘Illegal’

February 23, 2016

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) said that it is illegal for President Obama to transfer terrorists from Guantanamo Bay into the United States Tuesday.

"[Obama’s] Attorney General recently confirmed that it is illegal--illegal--for the president to transfer any of these terrorists into the United States," McConnell said in a speech on the Senate Floor.

Despite "the fact that it would be illegal … to transfer foreign terrorists" into the United States, the president has been focused on shutting down Guantanamo Bay for the length of his presidency, McConnell said.

"President Obama seems to remain captured on one matter by a campaign promise he made way back in 2008," he said. "His ill-considered crusade to close the secure detention facility at Guantanamo."

McConnell said that the Senate has acted "over and over and over again in a bipartisan way" against Obama’s proposal and that they would continue to stand firmly against it.

"So we'll review President Obama's plan, but since it includes bringing dangerous terrorists to facilities in U.S. communities, he should know that the bipartisan will of Congress has already been expressed against that proposal," McConnell said.

On Tuesday Obama released a report listing 13 potential U.S. sites for the transfer of terrorists from Guantanamo without listing any specific locations. The administration has emphasized that moving the terrorists from Guantanamo Bay would save the Pentagon between $65 million and $85 million a year.

The U.S. Naval base in Cuba currently holds 91 prisoners, one of whom is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the 911 attacks. Obama is expected to transfer 35 prisoners out of Guantanamo by this summer.