May 19 2009

Graham, Lieberman: No Release of Enemy Combatants into the United States

WASHINGTON --  United States Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Joe Lieberman (ID-Connecticut) today introduced legislation prohibiting enemy combatants held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba from being released into the United States.


Under the Graham/Lieberman legislation, enemy combatants ordered to be released will be transferred into the custody of the Department of Homeland Security while waiting to be returned to their home country or if they unable to return there, another nation.  Media reports have suggested that there is consideration of the release of Chinese Uighurs (Wee-gurs), who trained at terrorist camps in Afghanistan and have been detained at Guantanamo Bay since 2002, into the northern Virginia suburbs. 


“The legislation is clear -- former enemy combatants should not be released into the general population of the United States,” said Graham.  “Any decision to do this will put Americans at unnecessary risk.  Former enemy combatants should be turned over to the Department of Homeland Security until they can be repatriated to another nation.  Even though they may not present a direct threat to the United States, it is important to remember the Uighurs were captured in an Al Qaeda training camp and many of them have radical religious views which make it difficult for them to assimilate into our population.  Additionally, our immigration laws prohibit the release into the United States any persons who have been part of a terrorist organization.  The Uighurs are certainly guilty of this offense.”


“It is imperative that we make it clear that the closing of Guantanamo prison will not result in the freeing of any detainee into American communities,” said Lieberman. “Any detainee cleared for release should be transferred to the custody of the Department of Homeland Security.  That is a common-sense solution that protects our security and keeps potential terrorists off American streets.”


The Senators noted that the 17 Uighurs currently being held at Guantanamo Bay have petitioned for release into the United States.