Civil rights advocates are pushing back against President Donald Trump’s knee-jerk reaction to Tuesday’s attack in New York City and for saying he would “certainly consider” sending Sayfullo Saipov, the suspect being held for the murder of eight people, to the U.S. offshore prison at Guantánamo Bay.
“Send him to Gitmo,” Trump said to reporters on Wednesday. “I would certainly consider that, yes.”
— ‘GITMO’ BAMA (@President1Trump) November 1, 2017
In no uncertain terms, the Center for Constitutional Rights, which has defended Guantánamo detainees, denounced President Donald Trump’s suggestion that he would “consider” sending the suspect to the prison. Attorneys from the organization said on Wednesday, “Guantánamo Bay is and always has been a prison exclusively for Muslims, which is undoubtedly the only reason Donald Trump made the idiotic suggestion to send Sayfullo Saipov there.”
Trump also said that the Diversity Visa Lottery program used by the suspect to gain entry into the U.S. should be halted, and questioned immigrants’ ability to sponsor family members who want to enter the country.
“Diversity lottery—sounds nice,” the president said in a press briefing. “It’s not nice. It’s not good. It hasn’t been good. We’ve been against it. We have to get much less politically correct.”
The Diversity Lottery program, enacted 27 years ago, has allowed 50,000 people per year to come to the U.S. from countries with low levels of immigration. Saipov arrived from Uzbekistan in 2010.
Guantánamo Bay has been used to detain suspects in the “War on Terror” since 2002. Detainees have been held for years without being charged with any crimes, with former President George W. Bush assigning them the label “enemy combatants”—which negates any protections they would have under the Geneva Conventions.
In an afternoon press briefing, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the administration now considers Saipov an “enemy combatant.”
“Fifteen years has proven no one will ever be successfully tried or ‘brought to justice’ at Guantánamo,” said the Center for Constitutional Rights in a statement, “and the president and his supporters within his own party are deluded if they believe otherwise.”
The Center, along with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), urged Americans to reject the president’s reactionary response to the attack.
— ACLU (@ACLU) November 1, 2017
In mourning, we must not allow this event to be used as a cynical and divisive pretense to foster a reactionary environment of hate. (2/2)
— The CCR (@theCCR) November 1, 2017
Meanwhile, some noted that Trump’s rapid-fire call to action in order to prevent attacks like the one in New York, was a far cry from his tepid response to the shooting in Las Vegas that killed 58 people and injured more than 500 just a month ago. The perpetrator of that attack was a white male who was able to stockpile an arsenal of weapons and ammunition—under laws that Trump and his loyal supporters at the National Rifle Association have fiercely defended.
— Mark Murray (@mmurraypolitics) November 1, 2017