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Senators Introduce Resolution to Detain ISIS Fighters in Guantanamo

WASHINGTON, D.C. –    Following the recent announcement that U.S. special operations forces conducted a raid which resulted in the capture of an Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) leader, Senator Joni Ernst today joined Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) and 13 fellow Senators in introducing a resolution to detain ISIS fighters at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Additional cosponsors of the resolution include Senators Jerry Moran (R-KS), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), John Boozman (R-AR), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Tim Scott (R-SC) and David Vitter (R-LA).

As the United States continues to conduct combat operations against ISIS, U.S. forces are likely to continue capturing terrorists. Guantanamo Bay was established to house individuals who engaged in, aided, abetted or conspired to commit, acts of international terrorism and should be utilized as such as our nation faces a continued threat of terrorism.

“Last week when I was at Guantanamo Bay I saw plenty of vacant cells,” Senator Daines stated. “Terrorists captured by U.S. forces belong in Guantanamo, a location that has played a pivotal role for collecting intelligence from detainees and keeping terrorists off the battlefield in the global war on terror. These dangerous individuals do not belong on U.S. soil, or in the custody of a nation that may allow them to return to the battlefield as we have seen before. We must ensure they don’t continue to spread radical Islam throughout the world, and Guantanamo Bay serves an integral purpose for just that.”

“My recent visit to Guantanamo Bay reaffirmed my belief that it is the best place to detain individuals who wish to do our nation harm,” Senator Moran stated. “The detention facility is a place to counter the serious national security threats we face across the globe. Captured militants affiliated with ISIL and other terrorist groups are dangerous and should be held at Guantanamo Bay, not in Kansas or anywhere else in the United States.”

“My recent trip to Guantanamo Bay not only confirmed that the detainees should remain there, but also that this facility is tailor-made for enemy combatants,” Senator Gardner stated. “At a time when the Obama Administration lacks a coherent strategy to defeat ISIL, it’s more important now than ever that we use all the tools at our disposal to fight terrorism. Instead of closing Guantanamo Bay, the Administration should transfer detained ISIL fighters to the facility. This resolution paves the way to do just that, while preventing grants of new rights to terrorists.”

“Guantanamo Bay is a first-rate detention facility that’s kept terrorists off the battlefield, provided valuable intelligence, and made America safer,” Senator Cotton stated. “President Obama needs to recognize this and begin sending dangerous Islamic State terrorists to Gitmo. Just yesterday, the New York Times reported that an Islamic State terrorist with expertise in chemical weapons was in the custody of U.S. Special Forces. That terrorist should be sent immediately to Guantanamo Bay for detention and interrogation, and not read his Miranda rights or turned over to another nation. Our priority should be stopping terrorists, not providing them with constitutional rights that rightfully belong to the American people they are trying to kill.”

“There should be no confusion in the minds of our enemies that, if captured, they will be sent to the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay to be interrogated,” Senator Rubio stated. “More than seven years in, the Obama administration still does not have a coherent detention policy that will give our military and intelligence community the best opportunity to extract valuable intelligence to help defeat ISIS, Al Qaeda and other terrorist networks.  This White House would rather release terrorists from Guantanamo Bay and hope for the best.  We know recidivism rates are rising as released terrorists return to the fight. This resolution makes it clear what our policy should be.”

“With tens of thousands of fighters and the capability to make false passports for infiltrating refugee flows into Europe and the United States, ISIS poses a clear danger to American citizens,” Senator Kirk stated. “No other facility can house terrorists as securely as Guantanamo, which is where we should be sending ISIS terrorists when they are captured by our brave servicemen and servicewomen in the field."

“Jihadists who seek to kill Americans should not be brought to American soil. The security of our people, not political expediency, should guide decisions regarding prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay,” Senator Cruz stated. “Ensuring that our national security interests are being protected is only prudent, and Congress should step up and exercise its constitutional authority and detain ISIS fighters at Guantanamo Bay.”

“For years, the Obama administration’s single-minded focus on fulfilling a campaign promise to close Guantanamo has hindered the fight against our terrorist enemies,” Senator Hatch stated. “Our facilities at Guantanamo offer a secure, lawful, and humane option for detaining terrorists, and the administration’s misguided ideological agenda should not foreclose its continued use. As we continue combat operations against the Islamic State, the Senate should again make it clear that Guantanamo and other facilities abroad offer the best alternatives for holding terrorists and collecting vital intelligence from them.” 

“Guantanamo Bay, and the servicemembers at the detention facility, serve an important mission to protect our nation from some of the world’s most dangerous terrorists,” Senator Ernst stated. “We should detain ISIS terrorists at Guantanamo as we cannot afford to release them into Iraqi custody and risk that these terrorists will end up right back on the battlefield. At this time of growing threats, we must work to preserve our operations at this detention facility which is central to our national security interests.”

“Our number one priority should be keeping our homeland safe and secure from the threat of radical terrorists, including those from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant,” Senator Isakson stated. “Unfortunately, the president appears more focused on releasing terrorists to fulfill his political promise to close Guantanamo Bay prison than on going after the very terrorists he should be sending there. We must continue to utilize this critical detention facility in the fight against global terrorism. We must keep those who wish to do us harm off the battlefield and, especially off of American soil.”

“Closing Gitmo and transferring detainees to American soil creates needless national security risks and poses unnecessary threats to American citizens,” Senator Boozman stated. “The state-of-the-art facility is more than serving its purpose for detaining the worst of the worst, obtaining valuable intelligence from them and keeping these terrorists who are bent on destroying America from returning to the battlefield. As the threat posed by ISIL grows, Gitmo remains the only option to house these terrorists. Any facility on U.S. soil is not an option. It never was with al-Qaeda terrorists, nor can it be with ISIL terrorists. We are committed to ensuring that President Obama understands this and is prevented from closing the detention center at Guantanamo Bay.”

“America faces unknown threats as we confront the spread of ISIS or ISIL, the growing number of terrorist attacks and as we deal with the president’s failed foreign policy decisions,” Senator Roberts stated. “Guantanamo Bay is the safest and most suitable facility to house future detainees. The security and consequences of moving these and future terrorists and combatants to the mainland is unknown and is simply not worth the risk to American communities.”

"President Obama’s default foreign policy strategy has been to kill off high-ranking ISIL fighters with drones instead of attempting to detain them to glean valuable intelligence information,” Senator Inhofe stated. “This has weakened our nation’s ability to more quickly make advancements in the Middle East. Guantanamo Bay has served a purpose in the fight against extreme terrorism, and we should be sending ISIL fighters there so that we can garner better knowledge on their tactics and plans that would impact our national security as well as our allies.”

“Instead of trying to empty out Guantanamo and transfer dangerous terrorists to domestic soil in order to fulfill a campaign promise, the President should instead be focused on detaining captured ISIS fighters and other terrorists there,” Senator Scott stated. “I visited Guantanamo late last year and met the dedicated Marines who are guarding the terrorists currently held there, and can say unequivocally this is the best place on the planet for us to hold those captured overseas who wish to do us harm. The President’s refusal to do so puts our national security at risk, plain and simple.”

“Under no circumstance should the United States allow dangerous terrorists on our homeland, leaving the military prison at Guantanamo Bay as our very best – and frankly, our only – option to detain terrorists,” Senator Vitter stated. “During the course of its existence, Guantanamo has played a major role in securing the safety of American families,” Senator Vitter said. “Closing Guantanamo Bay endangers our security, and President Obama is kidding himself if he thinks otherwise.”

Read the full text of the resolution below or download it here.


Expressing the sense of Senate that individuals captured
by the United States for supporting the Islamic State
of Iraq and the Levant should be detained at United States Naval Station,
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Resolved, That it is the sense of the Senate that—

(1) the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has declared war on the United States;

(2) the United States Armed Forces are currently engaged in combat operations against ISIL;

(3) in conducting combat operations against ISIL, the United States has captured and detained individuals associated with ISIL and will likely capture and hold additional ISIL detainees;

(4) following the horrific terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the United States determined that it would detain at United States Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, individuals who had engaged in, aided, or abetted, or conspired to commit, acts of international terrorism, or acts in preparation therefor, that have caused, threaten to cause, or have as their aim to cause, injury to or adverse effects on the United States, its citizens, national security, foreign policy, or economy;

(5) members of ISIL captured by the United States during combat operations against ISIL meet such criteria for continued detention at United State Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay; and

(6) all individuals captured by the United States during combat operations against ISIL that meet the criteria by their affiliation with ISIL must be detained outside the United States and its territories and should be transferred to United States Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay.