Berkeley to welcome Gitmo detainees?

The City Council of Berkeley, Calif., is to vote Feb. 15 on a resolution to invite Guantánamo Bay detainees who have been cleared of wrongdoing to resettle in the town. Of the 38 detainees that have now been cleared, Berkeley would invite two: a Russian ballet dancer and an Algerian who was once a top-rated Italian chef in Austria. “Our hearts are with all those people who were never tried, held for years and in some cases tortured,” said Wendy Kenin, chair of the city’s Peace and Justice Commission. “As a municipality, this is one thing we can do to right some wrongs of our federal government.”

The two would move to Berkeley and live with local families, with assistance from nonprofits in finding work and adopting to life in the East Bay. Berkeley would spend no money from its general fund on the plan. However, the plan may face an obstacle in the Ike Skelton National Defense Authorization Act of 2011, signed by President Obama on Jan. 7, which prohibits the US from funding the relocation of cleared detainees. (San Francisco Chronicle, Feb. 9)

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