Congressman Proposes Bill: No Gitmo Detainee May Set Foot on U.S. Soil

By Michael W. Chapman | March 3, 2009 | 4:28 PM EST

Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz.) (Courtesy of Rep. Shadegg's Web site)

( – Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz.) has introduced a bill that would prevent any of the detainees in the soon-to-be-closed Guantanamo Bay prison from being allowed into the United States. Back on Jan. 22, President Barack Obama issued an executive order mandating the closure of the prison, known as Gitmo, within 12 months. Gitmo holds nearly 250 enemy combatants from the war on terrorism.
With the question in mind of where those prisoners will go, Rep. Shadegg introduced HR 1238, which would prevent anyone being held at Gitmo from setting foot on U.S. soil.
“No American family should ever have to worry about their own government placing a terrorist in their community,” Shadegg said in a statement about the bill. “I have introduced legislation that would make this impossible – ensuring that the Islamic extremists at Guantanamo are not given the chance to enter our country and complete their unfinished mission of shedding American blood.”
Among the near-250 prisoners at Gitmo are Abd al-Rahm al-Nashiri, who was implicated in the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole Naval ship, and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the reported mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. According to the Department of Defense, some 61 former Gitmo prisoners who were released have returned to terrorism.
Abdullah Massoud was a Taliban terrorist captured and sent to Gitmo shortly after 9/11. There, he received medical treatment, including a prosthetic leg, and legal assistance. He was eventually released and he returned to the battlefield.  As The New York Times Magazine reported in October 2006:
“Massoud was captured fighting the Americans and the Northern Alliance and spent two years there [at Gitmo], claiming to be a simple Afghan Talib. Upon his release, he made it home to Waziristan and resumed his war against the U.S. With his long hair, his prosthetic limb and impassioned speeches, he quickly became a charismatic inspiration to Waziristan’s youth.”
On Jan. 22, Obama said that Gitmo would close “no later than one year from now.” The president also ordered a special task force to review the conditions at Gitmo. Many critics of the Bush administration had claimed that prisoners were being tortured and otherwise treated inhumanely at the prison.
In its 81-page report, released Feb. 23, the task force concluded: “After considerable deliberation and a comprehensive review, it is our judgment that the conditions of confinement in Guantanamo are in conformity with Common Article 3 of the Geneva Convention.”
In his March 3 statement, Rep. Shadegg said:  “Our brave soldiers sacrificed valiantly to keep these terrorist killers away from their loved ones and ours. Now we may bring them here ourselves?  That is one risk we should never take.”
HR 1238 is currently being circulated among lawmakers in the House, where it will garner co-sponsors. From there it will be debated in the House Judiciary Committee. If it makes it out of the committee, it could then go to the House floor for a vote.
Michael W. Chapman
Michael W. Chapman
Michael W. Chapman