PHOENIX — An Arizona State University professor and former adviser to Barack Obama agrees with the president’s plan to close Guantanamo Bay, calling it “good and workable.”
Andy Gordon, professor at Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, said the military prison has caused the country “all kinds of (international) problems” for years.
“Guantanamo costs us about $415 million a year to operate, to hold 35-40 people,” he said.
Soon after Obama announced the plan on Tuesday, several Arizona lawmakers voiced their opposition to the plan.
Arizona Sen. John McCain called the plan to close the prison “a vague menu of options” that does not include how and where current and future detainees will be held.
Arizona Congressman Matt Salmon said in a statement that said closing Guantanamo Bay was “illegal” and the majority of Americans agree that the U.S. should not “bring terrorists” into the country.
Gordon said the plan is legal as long as Congress agrees with the move.
“It’s absolutely legal,” he said. “It does require congressional agreement because Congress has currently prohibited any of the detainees to the United States so that would have to change.”
Whether or not it can get through this grid-locked Congress is questionable, Gordon said.
“There is virtually no chance that by bringing these 35-45 people to the United States it will increase the likelihood of terrorism here,” he said.
There are already 10 to 15 prisoners who have been convicted of crimes here in the country who have had no contact with terrorist organizations.
There will not be any detainees released in the United States whenever their time runs out, Gordon added.
Gordon began working for Homeland Security under Janet Napolitano in 2009 and was part of the original Presidential Commissions for closing and reviewing all detainees for the first two years of Obama’s presidency.
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