Former Trump State Department Advisor: Send Migrants To Guantanamo Bay

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Written by Dana Sanchez
Guantanamo Bay
Detainees upon arrival at Camp X-Ray, January 2002. Photo: Shane T. McCoy, U.S. Navy/Wiki Commons

President Donald Trump is out of options for where to house the rising tide of asylum seekers crossing the Mexico-U.S. border, according to a former senior advisor.

He should send them to the military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, said Christian Whiton, a State Department senior adviser during the Trump and George W. Bush administrations.

It’s been done before, Whiton said in an opinion piece for The Hill. Whiton is referring two waves of Haitian immigrants trying to come to the U.S. in the 1990s who were dispatched to Gitmo during the George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton administrations. “Keeping them there and repatriating the vast number who were not legitimate asylum-seekers created a disincentive for more to come,” Whiton wrote.

Most Americans know Guantanamo Bay as a prison where people suspected of links to terrorism are kept for years without trial, according to the New York Times.

Now, the Department of Homeland Security apparently has a new idea about where they might find some space to detain migrant children.

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“The military awarded a $23 million contract in February to build a ‘contingency mass migration complex’ at Guantánamo, a plan that would expand the existing facility to house 13,000 migrants and 5,000 support staff in tents,” the Times reported. “That project appears intended primarily to accommodate a crush of migrants that might accompany a new crisis in the Caribbean, though it could theoretically be used to house Central Americans.”

ICE routinely arrests more immigrants than it has money to accommodate, putting pressure on the government to find more room. However, ICE has been facing political opposition from local officials around the country as it seeks to expand detention facilities.

After allegations of abuse were reported against detainees, local governments in California and Texas pulled out of ICE detention contracts under pressure from constituents.

The part about being out of options — that’s not exactly true, Sophie Weiner wrote for Splinter News.

“We have to remember that it is a choice to jail asylum seekers, and it is a choice that is at odds with international human rights norms,” said Heidi Altman, director of policy at the National Immigrant Justice Center, in a New York Times report.