Bill would prohibit Gitmo transfers

A Republican bill would criminalize the transfer of Guantánamo Bay detainees to the U.S.

The prohibition outlined in the measure introduced by Reps. Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnOvernight Healthcare: Senate making headway on Zika funding Republicans, Dems battle over new documents in fetal tissue probe Ethical issues surround the donation and use of fetal parts MORE (R-Tenn.) and Frank WolfFrank WolfLobbying World Supreme Court weighs legality of Virginia redistricting Global crisis of religious persecution needs a Congressional response MORE (R-Va.) would be in effect through 2017.  Anyone found to assist in the transfer of a Guantánamo detainee would face up to five years in prison. 

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However, the bill would not apply to detainees who are American citizens.

Blackburn said the controversial exchange of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for five Taliban members detained at the U.S.-run facility in Cuba necessitated a long-term prohibition.

"The Bergdahl swap involving the transfer of five senior Taliban detainees to a beach resort in Qatar was not only illegal, it put a bounty on the head of every brave man and woman serving our country overseas," Blackburn said.

Wolf argued that terrorist suspects detained at Guantánamo Bay should not be entitled to the same legal rights as Americans.

"The detainees at Guantánamo were not arrested in the United States; they are terrorists who want to kill Americans. Bringing them to the U.S. would provide them with constitutional protections that they are not entitled to," Wolf said.

Blackburn and Wolf's bill would prevent Congress from having to fight over prohibiting detainee transfers in annual appropriations bills each ye Guantánamo ar. 

Two of the 2015 appropriations bills passed by the House, military construction-Veterans Affairs and Commerce-Justice-science, include provisions that bar the administration from using funds to house or transfer Guantánamo Bay detainees. 

Rep. Jim MoranJim MoranTen House seats Dems hope Trump will tilt The Hill's 12:30 Report Big names free to lobby in 2016 MORE (D-Va.) offered an amendment to the Commerce-Justice-science bill that would have eliminated the provision that prohibits transfers of Guantánamo detainees to the U.S. But it was defeated 169-230. 

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