Durbin Statement on President's Plan to Close Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) released the following statement regarding President Obama’s plan to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay:


I have long supported our military and national security leaders in their calls to close Guantanamo. For almost a decade, the American people and my Senate colleagues have all known how to do this and why we should: it weakens our alliances, strengthens our enemies like ISIS and Al Qaeda, and casts doubt on our country’s commitment to human rights. It’s also a massive waste of taxpayer dollars, costing more than $4.9 million per inmate per year, compared with the roughly $86,000 it costs to hold our most dangerous criminals at supermax prisons, from which nobody has ever escaped.


But congressional Republicans have ignored these facts and blocked every attempt to close Guantanamo. My Republican colleagues should drop their opposition to every proposal put forward by President Obama and listen to America’s military and national security leaders. In the meantime, the Administration has ample authority under current law to transfer the vast majority of remaining detainees and they must expedite efforts to do so.  The time to close Guantanamo has long since passed.