Denver -- Statehouse Republicans today sent a loud and clear message of opposition to any plans to bring terrorist detainees from Guantanamo to Colorado. They introduced a Senate Joint Resolution (SJR16-011), signed and cosponsored by every Republican in both chambers, calling on Gov. John Hickenlooper to refuse any overtures from the Obama administration aimed at buying or leasing any state-owned facility for a purpose declared illegal by Congress.
"This resolution makes it clear that it would be extremely unpopular and improper, not to mention potentially harmful to the public safety of Coloradans, for Governor Hickenlooper to play a part in this plan by leasing or selling any state facility to the federal government for the purpose of holding terrorist detainees," said State Senator Kevin Grantham (R-Canon City), whose district is home to a number of facilities reported to be under consideration. "We are sending a message to the Governor and the President that Coloradans want no part in playing host to military detainees considered so dangerous that other countries won’t take them."
Rumors have for months swirled about whether President Obama would attempt to make good on a campaign promise to close Camp Delta at Guantanamo Bay Naval Facility, bringing the remaining 50-plus detainees to facilities on U.S. soil. Colorado has repeatedly been identified as one likely destination for detainees. Republicans hope the resolution will help preempt any such move.
"Even the U.S. Attorney General has said that bringing terror war detainees to U.S. soil, without the explicit approval of Congress, would be a clear violation of U.S. law," added Senate President Bill Cadman (R-Colorado Springs). "But given this President’s reputation for disregarding laws he finds inconvenient, even ones he signed into law himself, we believe it’s important to send a clear signal that this wouldn’t be welcome in Colorado."
"Transferring terrorists from an off-shore prison to a Canon City facility will raise the threat level in this and surrounding communities, and require the Canon City Police Department and the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office to focus more resources on the heightened terrorist threat rather than traditional crime," said Representative Jim Wilson (R-Salida). "Our local law enforcement offices are accustomed to doing more with less, and adding the additional burden that dozens of high-profile terrorists will put on this area will take vital resources from the city and county, and make protecting our community more challenging."
The resolution was introduced today, but won’t likely to be debated by the Senate until later in the week, given Tuesday's shortened schedule as a result of Colorado Caucuses.
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