President Obama signed an executive order to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba on his first day in office nearly a decade ago, but Trump intends to rescind that order.
Politico reports that Trump will likely make the announcement during the State of the Union Address.
The executive order, according to a draft State Department cable that officials are planning to soon send to U.S. embassies around the world, would rescind part of a separate 2009 order signed by then-President Barack Obama mandating that the facility be “closed as soon as practicable.”
The order has limited practical effect: Obama was never able to make good on the order amid resistance from members of Congress, who blocked his efforts to move detainees to prisons in the United States and raised concerns that released inmates could revert back to terrorism. However, Obama moved nearly 200 Guantanamo inmates to the custody of foreign countries during his presidency. Just 41 detainees remain in the facility today.
As Politico helpfully points out, Congress blocked President Obama's efforts to close the prison every single year he was in office, including his very last year.
During Obama's first years in office, congressional Democrats joined Republicans to overwhelmingly vote against closing the prison. During the latter years of the Obama administration, congressional Republicans refused to pass a National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would allow him to close the prison.
President Obama was able to transfer hundreds of detainees away from the prison before he left office, but it's still open. Less than 50 prisoners remain there today.
In addition to being a humanitarian and civil liberties disaster, the prison is also an enormous waste of money costing hundreds of millions of dollars every year.