Governors fight back against plans to bring Gitmo detainees to US

A sign hangs out the Guantanamo Bay prison in this file photo

WASHINGTON (MEDIA GENERAL) – The governor of South Carolina testified Thursday before a House committee to urge the Obama administration to stop plans to move Guantanamo Bay detainees to prisons in the United States.

“I can tell you I am tremendously concerned,” said Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina during a speech before the House Committee on Homeland Security. Thursday’s hearing examined the possibilities of implementing plans to close a controversial prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Among the concerns being examined: the risk of prisoner escape, potential targeting of US based prisons, and the economic impact of holding terrorists in civilian areas.

The Obama administration has re-engaged Congress in closing the camp that’s been the center of controversy for torture and human rights for over a decade.

“Keeping this facility open is contrary to our values. It undermines our standing in the world,” said President Obama during a speech in February. The Department of Defense has not settled on a final location for prisoners to be transferred to but remains open to facilities in several states.

Some members of Congress are hopeful closing the camp could save taxpayers millions of dollars. However, that idea was immediately shot down by Gov. Haley.

“There is no amount of money…that would justify those detainees coming to South Carolina,” said Gov. Haley when asked about the potential tax breaks that could be provided South Carolina if they agreed to host some Guantanamo detainees.

 

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