This morning, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced that he presented the president with “a proposal to establish an alternative location” to our Guantanamo Bay detention facility. “That plan will propose bringing those detainees to an appropriate, secure location in the United States,” he added.
There’s only one problem with that, Mr. Secretary: It’s illegal, and that’s not going to change anytime soon.
In fact, just two months ago President Obama himself signed into law the most recent defense bill explicitly prohibiting the transfer of Guantanamo detainees to American soil. These and other restrictions were actually first included in the defense bill by Democrats in 2009 when they controlled both chambers of Congress. The language is really quite clear:
Congress has spoken recently, definitively, and on a bipartisan basis: The terrorists held at Guantanamo should not be brought to the United States. Therefore, changing the law to accommodate this proposal would mean overturning the will of the American people.
Even the president’s own attorney general, Loretta Lynch, has said that “with respect to individuals being transferred to the United States [from Guantanamo Bay], the law currently does not allow for that.”
She’s right. That’s why the administration’s refusal to let this go is so confounding. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again—it’s time to move on, Mr. President.