Washington D.C. – Ranking Member Smith released the following statement on the President’s plan to close the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility:
“Today, the President announced his plan to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. I have long called for an exit strategy from our use of Guantanamo for detention purposes, and I am encouraged by the President’s plan to responsibly close the facility. I look forward to reviewing the full details of the plan as they become available.
“The President has provided a practicable plan for closing the facility. Congress must now work with the Administration in good faith to effectuate closure. We must start by lifting the current bans on transferring detainees into the United States and on constructing or modifying facilities within the United States to house Guantanamo detainees, bans that have too long served as barriers to closing the detention center.
“The establishment of a detention facility at Guantanamo was misguided from the beginning, and its operation stands in stark contrast to our nation’s values. Today, Guantanamo continues to be an international eyesore that undercuts our national security, damages our credibility with our international partners, and is a colossal waste of taxpayer dollars. The President’s plan offers a responsible way forward that would address security concerns, pursue criminal prosecutions, and produce net savings on the order of $335 million over ten years and $1.7 billion over twenty years. It is far past time to end this chapter in our country’s history and to close this facility.”