Gitmo North?

Michigan Democrats recently unveiled their new economic development plan for Michigan: turning the state into a penal colony for federal prisoners, the detainees currently held at Guantanamo Bay and even part of California’s inmate population.

In a rush to fulfill an ill-advised campaign promise to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, press reports indicate that President Barack Obama is considering transferring terrorists currently housed there to a prison in Standish, Mich. It is a plan apparently supported by Michigan’s Democratic Senator Carl Levin and U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Menominee.

The reports follow a letter sent to California by Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm that Michigan is willing to accept its prisoners as an effort to maintain and create jobs in Michigan.

I only wish that Michigan’s Democrats could channel their enthusiasm into efforts to attract business investment and job creation through means such as tourism, agriculture and manufacturing, all of which don’t endanger the lives of Michigan’s families.

The detention facility in Cuba was built for a special type of prisoners with unique challenges as to who they are and what they do. They are among the most dangerous people in the world who pose a major threat to U.S. national security.

President Obama’s plan places hope ahead of reality — an objective without a plan to get there. Given the fact that we are talking about trained terrorists and people who have committed acts of mass murder, it would seem the proper course would be to have a plan in place before making the decision.

Guantanamo Bay was chosen because it offered the best security arrangement for hardcore terrorists designated as enemy combatants and would not create a new terrorist target on American soil. Guantanamo allows for the protection of the identity of its guards and other personnel, who could become targets, and it prevents jihadists from interacting with general prison populations in America, where radicalization is already a major cause of concern.

At the end of the day, the administration has failed to answer the most basic question. If a facility in Cuba is not acceptable to house hardcore terrorists, why is one in Michigan or Kansas better?

The American people have clearly voiced their opposition. A recent USA Today/Gallup poll on closing Guantanamo Bay demonstrated that Americans are opposed to bringing terrorist detainees into the United States, including Michigan..

Should Democrats proceed with their ill-conceived plan, they need to ensure transparency in the process so that state and local officials have access to the same national security information about the terrorists as federal national security officials.

I will vigorously fight any attempt to bring trained terrorists into Michigan, or anywhere else in the United States. For states like my home state of Michigan that are seeking new jobs and growth, opening an al-Qaeda prison in the state would seem like the worst option for attracting new businesses and residents.

We absolutely need to preserve jobs and encourage growth in Michigan, but turning our state into a terrorist penal colony is not how to attract new families and business investment.