Guantánamo Detainees: Kansas Scared, Michigan Says Bring ‘em On

Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Standish Maximum Correctional Facility

One state’s nightmare might be another’s opportunity when it comes to figuring out what to do with the detainees at Guantánamo Bay detention facility, which President Barack Obama wants to shut down. Republican opposition out of Kansas is so fierce to the idea of transferring suspected terrorists to Fort Leavenworth prison that they’re even willing to derail the nomination of one of their own to the Obama administration. Both of the state’s U.S. senators, Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts, are blocking 10 of President Obama’s nominees for senior positions in the Department of Defense and Department of Justice, including GOP Congressman John McHugh of New York as Secretary of the Army.

Congressman Pete Hoekstra (R-MI), who’s running for governor of Michigan next year, equally dislikes the idea of sending any or all of the 229 detainees to a maximum security prison in the northeast part of his state. But Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) and some residents of the town of Standish are open to the idea of using the federal correctional facility—which is slated to close this fall—to house detainees. With unemployment running 17% in the area, the use of Standish’s prison sounds appealing to keep an already depressed local economy from sinking further.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Sens. Block McHugh Vote Over Gitmo Plan (by Lolitaa C. Baldor, Associated Press)
Michigan May Get Guantanamo Inmates (by David Shepardson and Mark Hicks, Detroit News)
Jobs Trump Fears of Terrorists in Michigan Town (by John Flesher, Associated Press)


Chris 13 years ago
I know another section of the country that would gladly take the Federal dollars and also has experience housing the likes of John Wayne Gacy: Southern Illinois. In fact, Sen Dick Durbin (D-IL) has already lobbied hard to bring Gitmo detainees here, and it seems a little sad that they don't seem to be considered at the moment. Being from IL, and touring Southern IL extensively I think Obama new there were places within the US to put these prisoners that would take them. This might explain he seemed so confident signing the closing orders and surprised by the NIMBY arguments from the very people that voted for this mess and like to talk tough. I'm willing to do my part and not complain about these detainee's being in my backyard because it's the right thing to do and that's what I believe America is supposed to stand for, what about you Kansas?
Frank 13 years ago
While I think the vast majority of these Guantanamo detainees should probably be sent home, I don't have confidence that Obama will manage that. The Michigan prison would be far more competent to handle these prisoners than the numbskulls in Hardin, Montana, who were looking to fill their long empty minimum security facilty with inmates whose custody level was far over the heads. The Federal Supermax facility at Florence Colorado would clearly be capable of handling them, though under the leadership of Bush appointee Harley Lappin, the Director of the Bureau of Prisons, it has been starved of funds and training for many years. Lappin refuses to recognize that we are in many aspects hospitable to true terrorists in our own midst, such as the "Army of God" that murders docs and bystanders.

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