President Donald Trump has signed an executive order to keep the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay open, a move that reverses the policy of former President Barrack Obama.
The president revealed the news during his State of the Union address Tuesday night, saying that he expects captured terrorists would be sent to the prison camp.
He also tasked defense secretary James Mattis “to re-examine our military detention policy,” and deliver a new policy on battlefield detentions that would govern the transfer of individuals to the Guantanamo Bay facility.
Trump signed the order just moments before stepping to the podium of the Congress to give his State of the Union address.
“In the past, we have foolishly released hundreds and hundreds of dangerous terrorists only to meet them again on the battlefield, including the ISIS leader, al-Baghdadi, who we captured, who we had, who we released,” said Trump during his speech, referring to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was released from Camp Bucca in Iraq in 2004.
“I am asking Congress to ensure that, in the fight against ISIS and al-Qaeda, we continue to have all necessary power to detain terrorists, wherever we chase them down, wherever we find them,” Trump added.
On his second day in office in 2009, Obama signed an order to close the facility, which has been subjected of attacks from human rights groups since it was opened by the George W. Bush administration after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
However, the Obama administration was never able to carry out the policy as Republicans in Congress blocked efforts to move dangerous detainees out of the prison camp.
President Bush moved nearly 500 prisoners out of the Guantanamo Bay facility during his terms, while Obama moved nearly 200. Today, there only 41 detainees left in the facility.
During his presidential campaign, Trump promised to keep the prison open, saying that he wants “to load it up with some bad dudes.”