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Senators Lankford, Cotton Introduce Bill to Prevent Guantanamo Bay Detainees From Returning to Terrorism

WASHINGTON, DC— Senators James Lankford (R-OK) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) have introduced the Guantanamo Bay Recidivism Prevention Act of 2015, legislation that would improve the monitoring of former Guantanamo Bay detainees transferred to foreign countries to prevent them from returning to terrorism. The Senators introduced the bill days after returning from a trip to the detention facility over the weekend.

“My recent trip to Guantanamo Bay has only deepened my understanding of the need for this detention facility and the role it plays in our national security,” said Lankford. “As we debate the future disposition of each terrorist detained at Guantanamo Bay, national security interests must come first. America must not become complacent about the danger many of these detainees pose to America and the world.

“The Guantanamo Bay Recidivism Prevention Act of 2015 will help prevent former detainees from returning to terrorism by cutting off aid to any country that allows a former Guantanamo detainee to reenter the battlefield. The nations that take these detainees have a serious responsibility to monitor, and if necessary, apprehend them before they return to terrorism.”

“President Obama seems to have little concern for what happens after a detainee leaves Guantanamo Bay,” said Cotton, who is the lead author of the legislation. “But these detainees are hardened terrorists and their release puts U.S. lives and our national security interests at risk. The numbers don’t lie: almost one in three detainees released from Guantanamo Bay are confirmed or suspected of returning to the fight. Most recently, we’ve seen reports of former detainees joining forces with the Islamic State. This is unacceptable. Our troops fought and captured these terrorists once; they should never have to do it again. Until President Obama stops releasing Guantanamo Bay detainees, Congress must do everything in its power to stop recidivism.”

The Guantanamo Bay Recidivism Prevention Act of 2015 seeks to prevent recidivism by encouraging foreign countries to properly monitor former detainees. Specifically, it prohibits foreign assistance provided under the Foreign Assistance Act or Arms Export Control Act if a country received a detainee from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay on or after February 1, 2015, and subsequently appeared on the administration’s detainee recidivist report (as defined by Section 319 of Public Law 111 – 32).

Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), Joni Ernst (R-IA) and David Vitter (R-LA) are also original co-sponsors of the bill.


For photos of Senator Lankford at the facility at Guantanamo Bay this past weekend, click here.