The U.S. Department of Defense is set to hand over a plan to Congress on Tuesday for shutting down the Guantanamo Bay military prison once and for all, officials announced Monday.
The Pentagon is facing a Feb. 23 deadline to submit the plan, and officials said the deadline will be met to present the plan for how to close Guantanamo and relocate detainees.
“The plan is to submit to Congress what our thoughts are on the issue and what we see is a way ahead necessary to achieve the closure of Guantanamo and to specifically point out the need for legislative relief,” Pentagon spokesperson Captain Jeff Davis said on Monday, according to The Hill.
There are 91 detainees still held in Guantanamo whose release and transfer will be part of the Department of Defense plan to close the controversial military detention facility.
IN DEPTH: Guantanamo Prison Starts 15th Year
Davis said that the plan suggests transferring as many prisoners as possible to other countries, with the remainder being transferred to facilities in the U.S. The proposed move has sparked fierce criticism from some members of Congress, particularly Republicans.
President Barack Obama hopes to shut down Guantanamo as one of his final acts in office to fulfill a longstanding promise and solidify the move as one of his legacies.
How many detainees are still at Gitmo? 91. The Obama administration started with 242.— Michelle Kosinski (@MKosinskiCNN) February 22, 2016
Last month, Obama called Guantanamo a “recruitment brochure” for U.S. “enemies” and as the push to close the prison remain in limbo 14 years after the facility opened.
Cuba has also repeatedly insisted that the U.S. return the U.S. naval-occupied territory of Guantanamo as part of the normalization of relations between the two countries, but Obama’s historic visit to the island nation next month will not have Guantanamo on the U.S. agenda, according to USA Today. Cuban officials, on the other hand, plan to raise the issue.
Seven years ago, and seven years after President George Bush opened the prison, Obama signed an executive order saying he would close it.