Gardner Statement on Obama Administration Proposal to Transfer GTMO Detainees to U.S.

WASHINGTON - Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) today released the below statement after the Pentagon released its proposed plan to close Guantanamo Bay and transfer detainees to the United States homeland:

“Pursuant to law he signed just three months ago, the President is prohibited from transferring or assisting in the transfer of Guantanamo Bay detainees to the United States homeland, as confirmed by Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and Attorney General Loretta Lynch. Regardless of today’s futile proposal, transferring detainees to the U.S. is illegal, and it’s rejected by Coloradans, top Colorado law enforcement officials, and Americans across the country,” said Gardner. “Today’s proposal only signals that the President may be willing to once again circumvent Congress and ignore the very law he approved in order to fulfill his campaign promises. This represents a grave threat to Colorado and our national security and I will take any and all action as a United States Senator to ensure Guantanamo Bay detainees remain in Cuba and out of Colorado.”  


  • In February of 2016, Director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Lt. General William Mayville Jr. wrote in a letter to Congress that “Current law prohibits the use of funds to 'transfer, release or assist in the transfer or release' of detainees of Guantanamo Bay to or within the United States, and prohibits the construction, modification or acquisition of any facility within the United States to house any Guantanamo detainee. The Joint Staff will not take any action contrary to those restrictions."
  • In January of 2016, Department of Defense Secretary Ash Carter stated that the transfer of Guantanamo detainees is “against the law.”
  • In a statement before the House Judiciary Committee, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch stated that existing law does not permit the Obama Administration to transfer Guantanamo Bay detainees to the United States.
  • In November of 2015, Gardner along with Senators Tim Scott (R-SC) and Pat Robert (R-KS) held a press conference  in response to the White House’s announcement that the President will not rule out executive action to close Guantanamo Bay.
  • The potential transfer was met with opposition locally in Colorado. In November of 2015, more than 40 sheriffs sent the President a letter expressing “strong opposition” to the potential transfer. 
  • In October of 2015, Gardner sent a  letter to President Obama asking for clarification on the legal authority of the Administration’s actions in response to reports of the Administration’s plan to conduct relocation site visits in Colorado. Gardner has not received a response to the letter to date.
  • In September of 2015, Gardner urged the President to abandon his potential plan to bring Guantanamo detainees to the United States after learning about it through media reports.



Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy. 

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