The Obama administration is preparing to transfer 17 detainees out of Guantanamo Bay in January, reducing the number of detainees in the prison to as low as 90, officials tell the New York Times. Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter, who recently notified Congress of the impending move, has reportedly approved the low-level detainees for transfer, which includes a congressionally mandated security clearance 30 days before a transfer occurs.
The move comes as part of a late push by Obama to close the prison in Guantanamo before the end of his presidency; closing the facility was a campaign promise in 2008. Actually achieving that goal, however, seems unlikely. “[The] administration has stepped up efforts to find countries to take 48 detainees on a transfer list and moved to speed up the work of a parole-like board that might approve the release of others who are currently recommended for indefinite detention,” according to the Times. “The Republican-led Congress, however, has shown little interest in lifting a ban on bringing any detainees to a prison inside the United States, which is Mr. Obama’s plan for those who are either facing trial or are deemed too dangerous to release.”
There are currently 107 prisoners at the base—down from 208 at the start of his presidency—with 48 eligible for transfer. CNN reports the recipient countries that will take the inmates have already been determined.