WASHINGTON — In his first State of the Union address, President Donald J. Trump stated that he had signed an executive order to keep the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay open. This falls in line with his anti-immigration policies and their link to terrorism in the U.S.
In the address, Trump observed that terrorists are not merely criminals but unlawful enemy combatants. “And when captured overseas, they should be treated like the terrorists they are,” he said. “In the past, we have foolishly released hundreds and hundreds of dangerous terrorists, only to meet them again on the battlefield, including the ISIS leader, [Abu Bakr] al-Baghdadi — who we captured, who we had, who we released.”
Trump’s order to maintain operation of the facility runs contrary to the previous administration’s efforts to shut it down.The order rescinds a measure issued by President Obama, who promised to close Guantanamo but failed in the face of insurmountable political opposition. Following Trump’s announcement, Twittersphere became a maelstrom of criticism regarding the order and its effect on the 41 detainees who remain at Guantanamo.
Trump’s executive order to keep Guantánamo open doesn’t just reverse Obama’s order to close it. It also rewrites the plain, sordid facts of the prison’s history. https://t.co/NYbV8VQmIt
— ACLU (@ACLU) January 31, 2018
Over the 16 years that Guantanamo has operated, only a minority of the over 700 detainees to pass through had been charged with a crime or completed trial in a military court, according to the Washington Post.
As the president said in his State of the Union:
“I am asking the Congress to ensure that, in the fight against ISIS and al-Qaida, we continue to have all necessary power to detain terrorists — wherever we chase them down, wherever we find them,” he said. “And in many cases, it will now be Guantanamo Bay.”