Should the City Council Support the Resettlement of One or Two Guantanamo detainees to Berkeley?
At its regular meeting on December 6, 2010, the Peace and Justice Commission adopted a Resolution to assist in the safe resettlement of cleared Guantánamo detainees.
RATIONALE FOR PEACE & JUSTICE COMMISSION'S RECOMMENDATION
The Peace and Justice Commission, consistent with its mandate to promote peace and justice, locally, nationally and internationally, recommends that the United States lift its ban on the domestic repatriation of cleared Guantanamo detainees and that following the removal of this legal impediment, that assistance be given for their safe resettlement to the United States. It is proposed that the City of Berkeley then welcome one or two detainees to live in Berkeley, with needed housing and other support offered by the Berkeley community.
The City has a longstanding policy in support of peace and justice including previously welcoming refugees from other countries who unjustly suffered imprisonment, torture, and related traumatic experiences. Consistent with that policy leadership, the Council of the City of Berkeley is urged to take a position to support the resettlement of one or two Guantanamo detainees to Berkeley. Similar actions were adopted by the cities of Amherst and Leverette, both in Massachusetts.
To view the adopted Resolution and the supporting material on the Guantanamo issue click on Safe Resettlement of Cleared Guantanamo Detainees.
CITY MANAGER'S RECOMMENDATION
Take no action at this time on the Commission’s recommendation relating to the “safe resettlement of cleared Guantánamo detainees.”
CURRENT SITUATION AND ITS EFFECTS
The Peace and Justice Commission has proposed that the City of Berkeley support the repatriation of “one or two Guantánamo detainees” to Berkeley.
Currently, federal law explicitly prohibits the transfer of Guantánamo detainees to the United States (most recently, in H.R. 6523, the Defense Authorization Act, signed into law on January 7, 2011). In addition to prohibiting the transfer of detainees with Department of Defense funds, the bill also requires the President to submit detailed plans for the “disposition” of any detainee released in the United States. This requirement has not been met at this point in time.
Based on the Peace and Justice Commission’s Report, there are an estimated “38 detainees at Guantánamo [that] have been cleared by the US government of wrongdoing, and it has been determined that they pose no threat to the United States.”
There is reportedly bi-partisan opposition to moving detainees into the U.S., and there is every indication that the Administration will be required to have a plan for trial and/or resettlement of detainees. The current lack of federal consensus suggests it may be some time before there is a clear process for detainee resettlement. As the federal policies are developed, the role, if any, for local jurisdictions will become clearer.
RATIONALE FOR CITY MANAGER'S RECOMMENDATION
There is no indication that any immediate change to current federal law on the matter is forthcoming. As a result, the City Manager recommends that no action be taken at this time.
February 15, 2011Read More
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