- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 10, 2016

Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz joined about a dozen other Republican senators Thursday in introducing a resolution supporting the detention of Islamic State fighters at Guantanamo Bay, as polling shows the American public opposes President Obama’s plan to close the detention facility.

The resolution, introduced by Sen. Steve Daines, Montana Republican, says members of the terrorist group, also known as ISIS or ISIL, captured by the U.S. during combat operations against the Islamic State meet the criteria for detention at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. It also says such individuals must be detained outside the U.S.

Mr. Rubio and Mr. Cruz, who are seeking the Republican presidential nomination, came out strongly against Mr. Obama’s recently announced proposal to shutter the detention facility. The two senators’ remaining rivals in the party’s presidential race, businessman Donald Trump and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, also have said they oppose closing the facility.

Mr. Rubio said Thursday that more than seven years in, the Obama administration still doesn’t have a coherent detention policy.

“This White House would rather release terrorists from Guantanamo Bay and hope for the best,” he said. “We know recidivism rates are rising as released terrorists return to the fight. This resolution makes it clear what our policy should be.”

Mr. Daines said he saw plenty of vacant cells during a recent trip to Guantanamo Bay.

“Terrorists captured by U.S. forces belong in Guantanamo, a location that has played a pivotal role for collecting intelligence from detainees and keeping terrorists off the battlefield in the global war on terror,” Mr. Daines said. “These dangerous individuals do not belong on U.S. soil or in the custody of a nation that may allow them to return to the battlefield as we have seen before.”

Polling taken since Mr. Obama laid out his plan to close Guantanamo last month shows a majority of the American public is not on the president’s side.

A CNN/ORC poll showed that 56 percent of Americans said the U.S. should continue to operate the facility, while 40 percent said the U.S. should close Guantanamo and transfer the prisoners elsewhere.

The survey split somewhat along party lines. Sixty-three percent of Democrats supported closing the facility, while 83 percent of Republicans and 55 percent of independents said it should continue to operate.

In announcing his proposal to close the facility last month, Mr. Obama said it undermines national security by providing jihadis with a recruiting tool and runs contrary to U.S. values.

Congressional Republicans have said Mr. Obama doesn’t have the authority to close the detention facility on his own, and Congress has passed legislation forbidding detainees from being transferred to the U.S.

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