Barack Obama’s plan to move Guantanamo detainees out of the controversial prison and into a nearly vacant maximum-security prison in Illinois prison has hit a snag. As it stands, the Federal Bureau of Prisons does not currently have the $150 million they need to take over the Thomson Correctional Center and a White House bid to add an extra $200 million to its budget was recently derailed by Democrats wary of endorsing the politically-sensitive measure. Problem is, the next available opportunity to do so may not come until late 2010. Even then, significant challenges would remain. Retrofitting the prison to hold the Guantanamo detainees could add another eight to 10 months, meaning the prisoner transfers aren’t likely to happen until 2011 at the earliest—if they are to happen at all. Further complicating matters, both Democrat and Republican lawmakers remain skeptical and could campaign against housing the detainees on U.S. soil come the 2010 mid-term elections.
Looking for more?
Get the best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.