CAIR Action Alert #686:
Action: Ask President Obama to Veto NDAA Over Guantanamo Restrictions
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 12/10/12) -- The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is asking all Americans who value civil liberties to urge President Obama to veto the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (NDAA), which restricts his authority to transfer or prosecute detainees held at Guantanamo or to close the facility.
Today's request follows a recent letter sent to the president by CAIR and 25 other national civil and human rights and religious liberties groups making the same request.
Although it was recently passed in the Senate and approved last summer in the House, the NDAA's conference committee has not yet reconciled the differences between their two versions of the bill. While this annual defense authorization act provides valuable funding for the armed forces, it also includes several unnecessary restrictions that limit the executive branch's authority to transfer detainees or prosecution them in federal criminal court.
The House version of the NDAA restricts all transfer of prisoners for one fiscal year, while the Senate version restricts transfers overseas and includes a permanent ban on transfers to the United States, even for prosecution.
While more than 80 prisoners have already been cleared for release to their home countries or another relocation site, past restrictions imposed by Congress prevent the president from doing so. These restrictions on transferring prisoners expire on March 27, 2013.
On November 29, in a statement of administration policy to the Senate, the White House expressed "serious concerns" over the Senate's transfer restrictions "limiting key authorities of the Executive" and in their current form threatened that the president's "advisers would recommend that [he] veto the bill."
CAIR believes Congress has repeatedly maneuvered to prevent the president from closing Guantanamo as he promised to do in his first year in office. CAIR urges you to not let Congress tie the hands of the president once again.
Ask President Obama to close Guantanamo in his second term of office and to veto the NDAA should it come to his desk containing any restrictions on his authority to do so. [Link to Action Alert]
IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUESTED:
For the past four years Congress has repeatedly maneuvered to prevent President Obama from closing the Guantanamo Bay military detention facility. Once again, this year's National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (NDAA) threatens to permanently restrict the president's ability to transfer or prosecute detainees held at Guantanamo and shut down this illegal facility once and for all.
Take action now by urging the president to veto the NDAA should it come to his desk with any congressional provisions that tie his hands and prevent him from closing Guantanamo.