Because the American People Have Been Screaming For This


The GOP has come up with the “Keep Terrorists Out of America Act.” Here is the introduction:

Keep Terrorists Out of America Act: Protecting American Communities from the World’s Most Dangerous Terrorists

May 7, 2009

On January 22, 2009, President Obama signed an executive order to close the Guantanamo Bay prison that holds hundreds of the world’s most dangerous terrorists within one year. This decision was made without a backup plan in place for where these terrorists would go. So the key question remains: What is our nation’s plan for dealing with these terrorists? Will they be brought into the United States? Will they be released back onto the battlefield? These questions haven’t been answered, and the American people deserve answers.

The Keep Terrorists Out of America Act gives Members of Congress an opportunity to stand with the American people by affirming their opposition to releasing the terrorists at Guantanamo prison or bringing them into the United States. It also makes clear that governors and state legislatures must pre-approve the transfer or release of any terrorist detainee into their respective states. And lastly it requires the President to meet strict criteria and certification standards before terrorists housed at the Guantanamo prison could be brought to the United States.

It’s nice to know that Republicans are starting to focus on reality-based issues like the economy instead of trying to revert to Bush-era fear-mongering:

The political game plan, obviously, is to tie Obama’s closure of Guantanamo to the idea that its detainees could come to a community near you, in order to sow fears more broadly about Obama’s foreign and anti-terror policies. It’s also designed to pressure Congressional Dems, particularly in red states, to distance themselves from Obama’s policies or risk being painted weak on terror.

What’s interesting is that the GOP leadership keeps forging ahead with this strategy despite private worries among some Congressional GOP staffers and strategists that it makes the party look like its reverting to old fearmongering tactics. In an interview with me the other day, GOP pollster Tony Fabrizio responded to the new GOP strategy by asking: “What are we, in a time machine?”

As of 2005 (the latest year for which figures are available), there were over 850 correctional facilities in the United States, and 372 of those were maximum security prisons. D-day asks, Are the Americans who live near those facilities safer now than they would be if a former Gitmo detainee was incarcerated there?

D-Day suggests maybe Republicans want to move all those Americans out of the area, or close all the prisons:

Taken to its extreme, Republicans would call for the immediate closure of all prisons (“criminals… in your community!”), and the dispatching of all 2.3 million prisoners to some offsite floating barge, Australia, or that island of plastic in the Pacific. To suggest that a maximum-security prison could not possibly hold a Dangerous Terrorist is an insult to the men and woman of the federal corrections system, who already hold convicted terrorists in custody who received justice through a court of law, and basically acknowledges that those facilities are completely insecure, and should be feared by local residents. I’m sure the RNC and the Republican members of the House will pick up the costs of moving every single prisoner over to that plastic island. Because think of the children.

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