On Tuesday President Barack Obama made a final attempt to persuade the Congress for the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. Republican senators disapproved the announcement released by the president as they called the plan “dead on arrival”.

During Obama’s first run for the presidency back in 2008, the closure of the detention facility in Cuba was a major campaign promise. However, now that the president is left with only months in power, he wishes to accomplish all promises he made to America. The long-awaited proposal could be Obama’s last attempt to satisfy the people who voted for him, as well to keep his actions in harmony with his words.

If the president’s plan to close Guantanamo succeeds, all remaining detainees in the detention facility in Cuba would be transferred to prisons in the United States. Photo: UPI/Roger L. Wollenberg

“I don’t want to pass this problem onto the next president, whoever it is,” said Obama in an appearance at the White House. “If we don’t do what’s required now, I think future generations are going to look back and ask why we failed to act when the right course, the right side of history, and justice and our best American traditions was clear.”

The prison located in Cuba was opened in January 2002 under Bush administration in order to bring detainees from the Afghanistan War to the American naval base. The Guantanamo prison was under investigation and was presumed to be a place where torture of detainees took place regularly.

The detention facility at Guantanamo Bay has not helped the United States advance its national security, said Obama in a press release from the Oval Office on Tuesday.

Obama vs. Republicans

The Congress requested the proposal announced by President Obama on Tuesday and now is being persuaded to change the laws regarding detainee’s transportation. The law insists on prohibiting the moving of detainee’s accused of violent extremist acts to the United States soil. Although Guantanamo Bay already existed by the time Obama was elected president, it didn’t seem imperative for Obama to close the facility detention until recently.

It’s important to remember that the legislature is led by a Republican majority and as a Democrat, President Obama can only persuade them so long before his time as president comes to an end this year. The republican speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan said Obama still has to convince Americans that moving the prisoners to the U.S. would be a smart idea. However, in a republican-led legislature acting with a Democrat president, republicans oppose any executive order that Obama files.

Out of nearly 800 prisoners held at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, more than 85% have been transferred abroad, according to a report from the Defense Department. the Pentagon, which would hold no more than 60 detainees in each of its maximum-security prisons, has proposed only 13 potential sites on U.S. soil. The facilities would include seven existing prisons in Colorado, South Carolina and Kansas.

Source: The New York Times