MI Residents Wary Over Obama Gitmo Plan

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President Barack Obama's plan to close the Guantanamo Bay prison has some Michigan resident's nervous.

That's because some of the state's leaders want to move terrorist suspects from Gitmo into a maximum security prison in Standish, Michigan. That's not far from Detroit. 

A Tense Town Hall

It wasn't health care on the agenda at one Michigan town hall meeting.  It was the question of whether the state should allow some 229 Guantanamo detainees - most of them sworn to America's destruction - into the Standish Maximum Correctional Facility.

"If we move them to the United States, they will be entitled then to the same liberties and protections that you and I are awarded under our Constitution," said Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI).

Click play for more on the debate surrounding the closing of Guantanamo Bay with CBN News Terrorism Analyst Erick Stakelbeck.

Nearly all of those who spoke at the town hall oppose taking the prisoners, even though it might save 300 jobs in the hard-hit Michigan economy.

"If the Gitmo prisoners come here, they're the center of the bullseye, and the soft targets are all around," said town hall organizer Dave Munson. "And they're Jihadists and Jihadists are going to follow them.  So I feel it's a real security issue for the people in this town, the people in this county and the people in this state.

Many residents fear not only the presence of the prisoners in their midst, but the potential for sleeper cells in Michigan as well as a plunge in property values. 

Representative: Terror Threat Exaggerated

Others say the terrorist threat is overblown.

"I don't believe the terrorists are super-human beings. I don't believe they're any more dangerous than the Cryps or the Bloods or any other gang in California," said Rep. Joel Sheltrown (D-MI).

White House officials haven't decided whether the detainees will end up in Michigan, at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, or some other facility.  But they insist they're going somewhere.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said, "The president intends to maintain his commitment…to close Guantanamo in a year."

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John Waage

John Waage

CBN News Sr. Editor

John Waage has covered politics and analyzed elections for CBN News since 1980, including primaries, conventions, and general elections. 

He also analyzes the convulsive politics of the Middle East.