Leavenworth St. is reprinting Nebraska Senator Deb Fischer’s weekly collumn.
Recently the world witnessed unimaginable terror and the threat Islamic terrorism poses to free and open societies. As the events in Paris have united the world in grief, so too must the world unite with resolve. Those responsible for planning and coordinating this horrific assault on innocent civilians must be held to account. The messages of hate and radicalism that underpin these attacks demand a global response and the strengthening of our national defenses.
This tragedy underscores the fact that we live in a dangerous world. ISIL continues to murder innocent people, Putin is positioning himself as a power broker in the Middle East, and Iran is doubling down on bad ambitions. The threats to America are very real, and they continue to grow. During this time of global turmoil, we are now facing unprovoked dangers at home.
This month, reports began circulating about President Obama’s intention to circumvent Congress and unilaterally transfer dangerous terrorists from the Guantanamo Bay detention facility to our homeland.
The Pentagon is allegedly preparing a new report that will outline the options for closing Guantanamo and transferring the facility’s remaining 112 detainees to the United States. As of now, federal or military prisons in Kansas, South Carolina, and Colorado appear to be the administration’s top locations of choice.
Congress has made it clear that Guantanamo should remain open. The most recent National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which sets the policy and priorities for our military, included language regarding Guantanamo. Specifically, the provision would directly prohibit the transfer of detainees to this country by banning any funds from being used to prepare U.S. facilities to house detainees. This bipartisan bill already passed both the House and Senate by veto-proof majorities, and President Obama is expected to sign it. Any action by the president to close Guantanamo would violate both the law and the will of the American people as expressed by their representatives in Congress.
Supporters of closing Guantanamo argue that the facility is an easy recruiting tool for barbaric terrorist groups like ISIL. I disagree. Simply relocating terrorists to a different prison will not stop extremists who recruit terrorists by poisoning vulnerable minds with ideologies of hate and violence.
The top priority of the federal government is to provide for the common defense. Unfortunately, it appears that this administration would rather fulfill a political promise than ensure the safety and security of the American people.
As we have seen all too often, executive orders from the president have resulted in long, drawn-out battles in federal court. For example, President Obama’s actions on immigration following the 2014 election have faced multiple legal setbacks. Additionally, the implementation of the administration’s “water’s of the United States” rule, which would expand federal control over water across the country, was recently blocked by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. If the president acts in an unconstitutional manner regarding the transfer of Guantanamo detainees, his actions will likely face similar scrutiny in court.
As your voice in the U.S. Senate, I will continue to focus on my most important duty: protecting our country from all threats. I join all Nebraskans in our deep sorrow and solidarity with the people of France as they grieve and persevere through this tragedy. In the days and weeks ahead, I hope the people of France will take comfort in the prayers and aid of the American people. We are in this together.
Thank you for participating in the democratic process. I look forward to visiting with you again next week.
You can hear the audio of this column by clicking here.