On April 14, 2009, the White House tried to sneak 8 Uighur terrorists into America. Yet Section 103 of the ‘Real ID Act’ of 2005 made inadmissible for immigration purposes anyone who “is a member of a terrorist organization” or “has received military-type training … from or on behalf of any organization that, at the time the training was received, was a terrorist organization.” All of the Uighurs in question either had received military training in Afghanistan or were affiliated with a designated terrorist organization. Just two months earlier, in February 2009, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit reversed Judge Richard Urbina’s order to bring the Gitmo detained Uighurs into the U.S. and to release them. Yesterday, the Washington Post reported:
“The first concrete step toward closing the [Guantanamo] detention center was agreed upon during an April 14, 2009, session at the White House. It was to be a stealth move. With chief of staff Rahm Emanuel at the helm of the meeting, senior national security officials agreed that eight of the 17 Uighurs being held at the off-shore facility would be resettled in the United States, most in Virginia. The Chinese Muslims would be brought in two at a time; the first two to come were chosen, in part, because they could speak reasonably good English and were likely to make a good impression given the intense media attention they probably would draw. … “They were going to show up here, and we were going to announce it,” said one senior official, describing the swift, secretive operation that was designed by the administration to preempt any political outcry that could prevent the transfer.
President Obama also failed to mention the Read ID Act and the U.S. Court of Appeals decision in his May 21, 2009 speech while at the National Archives. Obama did, however, mention the “rule of law” eight times during that speech:
Indeed, the legal challenges that have sparked so much debate in recent weeks here in Washington would be taking place whether or not I decided to close Guantanamo. For example, the court order to release 17 Uighurs — 17 Uighur detainees took place last fall, when George Bush was President.
Eight days later, the National Review Online’s Andrew McCarthy reported:
The Uighurs appealed, and today the Justice Department filed its responsive brief. Solicitor General Elena Kagan argued — consistent with the Bush administration position — that the Uighurs have no right to be released into the U.S. [On April 19, 2011, the Supreme Court announced it would not consider the Uighurs' appeal.]
So, what happened between April 14 and May 29, 2009 to jog the administration’s memory?
On May 1, Congressman Frank Wolf faxed a letter to President Obama and released it to the media:
The American people cannot afford to simply take your word that these detainees, who were captured training in terrorist camps, are not a threat if released into our communities.
On May 20, 2009:
In a rare, bipartisan defeat for President Barack Obama, the Senate voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to keep the prison at Guantanamo Bay open for the foreseeable future and forbid the transfer of any detainees to facilities in the United States. Democrats lined up with Republicans in the 90-6 vote that came on the heels of a similar move a week ago in the House [emphasis added ours], underscoring widespread apprehension among Obama’s congressional allies over voters’ strong feelings about bringing detainees to the U.S. from the prison in Cuba.
Apparently, Congress did not appreciate President Obama’s attempt to violate U.S. law, ignore the ‘rule of law’, and endanger voters by sneaking terrorists into the country.
Update note: It was only after the administration’s plan failed that negotiations began with Bermuda and Palau which accepted four and eight Uighurs, respectively. Five Uighurs remain at Gitmo awaiting release abroad.