Illinois Republicans propose banning Guantanamo Bay detainees from U.S.

January 29, 2011

Download Story
(WBEZ/Tony Arnold)
U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk and Rep. Aaron Schock address the media Friday in downtown Chicago

Two Illinois Republicans want to ban Guantanamo Bay detainees from being held anywhere in the U.S.

Illinois U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk said the American prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba should remain open.

"Common sense should prevail here that the U.S. taxpayer has already paid for courtrooms and detention facilities," Kirk told reporters Friday. "And with a $1.5 trillion deficit, we should use what we paid for rather than pay for something new."

Kirk and Republican U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock introduced legislation that would ban the federal government from paying for the transfer of detainees to U.S. soil. Schock said it's an issue of safety.

"What happens when you bring, theoretically, 100 of the worst terrorists known to the United States to the heartland?" Schock asked.

The State of Illinois has been trying to sell an under-used prison near the Mississippi River to the federal government. Schock said that prison would be better off if it were used to relieve overcrowding at federal prisons.

President Barack Obama has said he wants to close Guantanamo Bay.