WASHINGTON - One of president Obama’s biggest campaign promises was to shut down the prison in Guantanamo Bay.
In a step toward that goal, this week the administration released another Guantanamo detainee. This brings the total number of inmates to 60.
“For many years it’s been clear that the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay does not advance our national security,” said President Barack Obama in Feburary.
When President Obama took office, there were 242 detainees in the prison, and while that number has decreased significantly, the likelihood of Obama fulfilling one of his biggest campaign promises has fallen.
Republicans in Congress staunchly oppose shutting down the facility.They say some of the inmates are too dangerous to be released.
Republicans also oppose a White House plan to find locations on US soil to jail remaining detainees.
“Since it includes bringing dangerous terrorists to facilities in U.S. communities, (Obama) should know that the bipartisan will of Congress has already been expressed against that proposal,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
With the Obama White House running out of time the decision will likely fall to the next president of the United States.
Hillary Clinton supports closing Guantanamo.
“I believe the president is right in trying to close it. I think it is a continuing recruitment advertisement for terrorists,” said Clinton.
Not surprisingly – her opponent Donald Trump disagrees: “This morning I watched president Obama talking about Gitmo, right? Guantanamo Bay. Which by the way, which by the way we are keeping open, which we are keeping open. And we’re gonna load it up with some bad dudes, believe me. We’re gonna load it up.”
While a Trump White House means Guantanamo remains open, a Clinton administration wouldn’t mean a quick closing.
Many trials against detainees still haven’t begun, and any plan would have to pass Congress.