Durbin Leads Push to Transfer Gitmo Detainees to Illinois Prison

Posted November 17, 2009 at 10:34am

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) continued his push Tuesday to transfer terrorism suspects from Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to an Illinois prison, noting in a floor speech that such a move “would be a dramatic infusion into the local economy.— “If the federal government moves to take over this prison, it could create up to 3,000 jobs in the area,— Durbin said of the proposed federal takeover of the prison in Thomson, Ill. “There is nothing that could be brought that quickly to have that kind of positive impact on the local economy.—Durbin canvassed the state last weekend with Gov. Pat Quinn (D) to highlight the economic effect of an Obama administration plan to house terrorism suspects at the Illinois facility. Sen. Roland Burris (D-Ill.) issued a statement Monday joining Durbin and Quinn in supporting the plan. Congressional Republicans have staunchly opposed the idea and last week condemned Attorney General Eric Holder’s announcement that five 9/11 suspects, including self-proclaimed mastermind of the attacks Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, would be tried in civilian courts in New York. The move prompted Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) to offer an amendment to the military construction appropriations bill that would ban federal funds from being used to upgrade security measures at prison facilities to hold Guantánamo detainees. That amendment could be considered as early as Tuesday. In his floor speech, Durbin proclaimed, “I strongly support the attorney general’s decision,— and condemned Inhofe’s amendment. “How much sense does that make?— Durbin said. “If there is the need to upgrade security so they can be tried in a safe environment with no danger to the people of New York City, we want to spend that money if necessary.—