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No Terrorists in Our Backyard

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

The clock is ticking on President Obama. There are 7 months before his self-imposed deadline to shut down Guantanamo Bay and relocate 241 of the world’s most violent extremists.


In February I introduced a bill in Congress (H.R. 1238) that would bar every single one of those detainees from ever setting foot on American soil. Now I’m pleased to report the House Republican leadership has endorsed this idea today and included it as the central feature of their “Keep Terrorists out of America Act.”

Despite the President’s global apology tour – and the soothing reassurance of his Homeland Security Secretary that Islamic radicals who behead innocent civilians really aren’t terrorists after all – the nations of the world are still not leaping at the chance to give the detainees a new home.

There are a few countries that are willing to do their part and take in some detainees. For example, Yemen is willing to take their detainees back, but only if we send them back with a big check pinned to their shirts for “rehabilitation.” This has disaster written all over it. There is increasing Al Qaeda activity in Yemen and no way to ensure that our rehabilitation checks are actually being used to rehabilitate. All assuming rehabilitation is actually possible.

So as the number of options dwindle, one option becomes increasingly more likely: housing these killers inside our own borders. Again, I say, absolutely not!

At least 60 of the detainees released from Guantanamo have already returned to the battlefield. Dare we risk moving the battlefield to cities and town across America?


Once on our soil, anything can happen.

They can apply for asylum. They can be placed into the civilian justice system. Judges and jailers can be targeted. Attacks could be planned where they are being held. They can recruit new followers and incite others to violence. Their very presence can be a rallying cry to homegrown Islamists. And, most deadly of all, now or in the future, they can be released into our communities.

Democrats in Congress, feeling the heat, passed on the President’s first request to get $50 million to house the detainees in the U.S. But, they said the just wanted more details. So now is the time to ratchet up the pressure even more. Now is the time to push for the bill that keeps these killers out. That is why I cam calling on Speaker Pelosi to give the House the opportunity to vote on this bill so that we can know exactly where all members stand on this issue. It is a matter of national security.

Our brave soldiers have risked and given everything to keep terrorists away from our families and loved ones – and yet we may bring them here ourselves?

Not on our watch. Not in our backyard.

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