Republican Reps. Hal Rogers (KY) and Frank Wolf (VA) alleged Tuesday that the purchase of a maximum security prison in Illinois was part of President Barack Obama's scheme to shut down the Guantanamo Bay prison facility.
The Department of Justice recently purchased the Thomson Correctional Facility in Illinois for $165 million. The Obama administration had previously tried to transfer 100 detainees held at Guantanamo to the Illinois prison, but the plan was blocked by congressional opposition.
"I am concerned that this purchase will set in motion the administration’s plan to close the terrorist detention facility in Guantanamo Bay by transferring terrorist detainees to U.S. maximum security prisons, like Thomson," Wolf said in a statement.
“The Obama administration has been trying for years to open Thompson prison in order to transfer terrorists from Guantanamo Bay onto U.S. soil,” Rogers added. “Congress has vehemently denied this request and has refused funding for the prison at every step of the way. The American people do not want Guantanamo detainees in the U.S., and should not have to tolerate the risk of these terrorists residing in their backyards. "
Obama vowed to close down the controversial Guantanamo Bay prison facility during his campaign for president. After taking office, Obama called for some terrorism suspects to face trial in federal civilian courts, but Congress blocked the transfer of Guantanamo detainees to the United States. Obama issued an executive order in 2011 that allowed military trials for terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay to resume, a move that was condemned by human rights organizations.
Obama has insisted he was still determined to close Guantanamo Bay. However, Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin (D) said the Thomson Correctional Facility would not be used to house detainees from Guantanamo Bay.
“This argument they can move Guantanamo detainees in the future there is completely false for the following reason: We’ve signed these treaties with countries around the world, and one of them is you don’t put military prisoners in anything other than a military prison,” Durbin told the Chicago Sun-Times.