President Barack Obama remains committed about closing the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention center, housing 116 detainees from the U.S. war on terror.
The U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth is looking better and better as a place to house them. The Obama administration also is considering the Naval Consolidated Brig in Charleston, S.C. Republicans and some Democrats have opposed moving the detainees since Obama first proposed closing Guantanamo when he took office.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback also is against the transfer of any detainees from Guantanamo to Leavenworth.
About 52 of the 116 detainees at Guantanamo have been cleared for release, The Associated Press reports. The military has determined that the remaining 64 are too dangerous to be released.
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U.S. talks with Cuba since December in efforts to normalize relations between the two countries has likely added more emphasis to closing Guantanamo and returning the property to Cuba.
Most communities had been dead set against prisons and inmates. But in the last 30 years, prisons — particularly in small towns — have been viewed as economic development engines, creating jobs and business opportunities for feeder industries.
Relocating the detainees from Guantanamo could have the same effect for Leavenworth and the Kansas City area with new construction of more secure facilities to house the men and for military commission trials for those accused of war crimes.
This could be the sort of job creator that Brownback has been seeking all along.