Wisconsin's 1st District Congressman Paul Ryan spoke out against efforts by the Obama Administration to welcome detained terrorists to the Midwest. Ryan raised concerns to reports that over 100 terrorists could be transferred from their Guantanamo Bay detention facility to the Thomson Correctional Center, a northern Illinois prison located 50 miles south of the Wisconsin border.
President Obama has previously set a self-imposed, arbitrary deadline to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, and details are now emerging on how the Administration intends to handle the hundreds of detainees. In 2006, Congress passed the Military Commissions Act, which established procedures, rules, and legal framework for trying unlawful enemy combatants who have engaged in hostilities against the U.S. and do not belong to the regular armed forces of a country, such as al-Qaeda. The military commissions, based on the Uniform Code of Military Justice, created a process to effectively and fairly prosecute terrorists, while also protecting American troops and intelligence agents fighting terrorism around the world. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that these military tribunals are consistent with our constitution and in compliance with our international obligations.
Congressman Ryan expressed grave concern that the President has chosen to bypass this military tribunal system, while at the same time bringing al-Qaeda terrorists a short drive from Wisconsin's 1st Congressional District. In response to federal officials touring the Thomson Correctional Center yesterday, Ryan issued the following statement:
"The President continues to fundamentally confuse acts of war as mere criminal acts -- naively believing that combating terrorism is a fight best left to courtrooms. The President should adhere to the constitutional process established to deal with the world's most dangerous terrorists currently held in Guantanamo Bay. Moving these detainees from Guantanamo Bay to northern Illinois will neither expedite the administration of justice nor strengthen the security of our homeland. Those I serve in Southern Wisconsin will not welcome these terrorists as our new neighbors. The President's promise to close Guantanamo Bay was a misguided political calculation that remains unworkable. For sake of our security, this is a promise he shouldn't keep."