On Wednesday, Press Secretary Josh Earnest confirmed that Administration is in the final stages of planning the closure of Guantanamo Bay Prison.
The closure is part of a promise by Obama that he is keen to complete before his time at office comes to an end, despite initially promising it would close in his first year at office. Obama has faced opposition from congressional Republicans regarding the closure, release or transferal of prisoners.
There are currently 116 prisoners left in Guantanamo Bay and 800 men have been imprisoned there since it began detaining prisoners over a decade ago, with 51 men still being held despite the government clearing their release, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.
White House Press Secretary, Josh Earnest, said on Wednesday that “Administration is in the final stages of drafting a plan to safely and responsibly close the prison at Guantanamo Bay and to present that plan to Congress”, also adding that the closure is in the interest of the United States national security.
Senior Counsel of National Security at Human Rights First believes that the plan will provide good progress but is concerned about whether the plans will be approved considering so many members oppose the closure.
However, Christopher Anders, senior legislative counsel at ACLU has undermined concerns by addressing the plan’s appeal at Congress is nothing more than an “irrelevant checking of the box”, reminding us that the president has the executive authority to make detainee transfers without Congresses approval.
Anders said that the lack of obstacles is the “number one obstacle” facing Obama and that the Department of Defence is “digging in its heels” regarding the prison’s closure.
By Francesca Stainer