Leavenworth residents worried about Gitmo plans

Posted at 8:03 PM, Feb 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-23 21:16:40-05

Farmland sitting a football field away from the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks on Fort Leavenworth has been in the Tayrien family since 1816.

“There’s always been a family member in this home and on this land,” said current landowner Jennifer Tayrien.

Tayrien is worried that new tenants could be moving in on the other side of 155st Street.

“We’re supposed to be neighbors, and as a neighbor, you watch out for each other, and I believe they need to kind of watch out for us and to do that they need to not bring the Gitmo people here,” said Tayrien.

Tayrien is one of many Leavenworth residents speaking out against the Obama administration’s plan to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility by bringing prisoners who cannot be transferred to a facility in the United States. Fort Leavenworth is one of 13 prospective facilities the administration is eyeing.

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“Yeah, I don't want to see them here. If they bring them here, then their families are going to want to come here to visit them, and then some of their family still could have terroristic threats," said Leavenworth resident Kenneth Grayden. “So why would I want them here?”

Leavenworth’s mayor weighs in

Leavenworth Mayor Larry Dedeke believes the Guantanamo Bay detention facility should stay open.

“The financial hardship that would be placed on the community is enormous,” said Dedeke.

Dedeke tells 41 Action News that he thinks Tuesday’s announcement is so President Barack Obama can say he went through Congress before enacting an executive order to close the detention center in Cuba.

“What scares me is one morning we're going to wake up and they're gonna be here or in Colorado or South Carolina,” said Dedeke

Would transferring to Leavenworth mean expansion of the disciplinary barracks?

Tayrein seems to think so, along with Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts, who said in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that 2,000 acres of land may need to be acquired for a security perimeter if Guantanamo Bay detainees were to come to the fort.

“Which means it would take out much of the farms in this area,” said Tayrein. “It’s a hell no, I wont go, you'll be dragging my dead body off the land before that happens.”


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