As President Barack Obama considers what to do about fulfilling his campaign pledge to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and possibly bring the prisoners to Colorado, 40 sheriffs from Colorado have voiced their opposition in a letter to the White House.
The letter is signed by 40 Colorado sheriffs. They sent it to President Obama to let him know if they are going to move the 112 terrorism suspects, they want them moved somewhere else.
Two federal prisons at Florence — Supermax and the U.S. Penitentiary — have been reviewed along with one state prison complex near Canon City. The letter from the sheriffs to the president refers to “the danger posed by sympathizers who would mount an attack on these facilities.”
Arapahoe County Sheriff David Walcher is among those who signed the letter.
“I would still be concerned about escapes, but I would be even more concerned about the potential for someone trying to extract them from prison,” Walcher said.
Congress has just sent the president a bill that would bar moving the detainees to the U.S., but some members of Colorado’s delegation believe the president might issue an executive order to get around that.
Denver Attorney Mari Newman represents several of the prisoners at Guantanamo and takes issue with the sheriffs.
“Any concern that has being expressed about the security of bringing these men to the United States prisons is simply ridiculous,” Newman said. “These are men who have never even been charged with criminal activity, much less convicted.”
She points out several convicted terrorists are already housed at Supermax. Among them is shoe bomber Richard Reid.
The sheriffs fear bringing Islamic terrorists to Colorado would make this state a tempting target.
South Carolina and Kansas are other states under consideration to house the Guantanamo detainees.