The Biden administration took a step toward its goal of shutting down the Guantánamo Bay detention center for international terror suspects on Monday, releasing into the custody of his home country a Moroccan who’d been held without charge almost since the U.S. opened the facility 19 years ago.
Watch Psaki’s remarks in the player above.
Speaking at the White House briefing Monday, press secretary Jen Psaki said administration’s “goal is to close Guantanamo Bay.”
“There are different layers of the process, but that remains our goal. And we are considering all available avenues to responsibly transfer detainees and, of course, close Guantanamo Bay.”
The transfer of Abdullatif Nasser was the first by the Biden administration, reviving an Obama administration effort that had been stymied, in part, by conservative opposition and by the difficulty of finding secure sites to send some of the detainees.
Psaki also commented on cases of COVID-19 among Olympic athletes in Japan as news broke that Kara Eaker, an alternate on the United States women’s gymnastics team, has tested positive for the virus while at an Olympic training camp.
Psaki said the White House is “monitoring the situation” and “wishing a speedy recovery to those who have tested positive.”
She said “nothing has changed in terms of our plans for the U.S. delegation,” and First Lady Jill Biden will continue on to Japan to lead the delegation at the opening ceremony.
The press secretary also responded to Canada’s announcement Monday that it will begin letting fully vaccinated U.S. citizens into the country on Aug. 9, and those from the rest of the world on Sept. 7.
Asked if the U.S. would reciprocate, Psaki said, “We are continuing to review our travel restrictions. Any decisions about resuming travel will be guided by our public health and medical experts. … I wouldn’t look at it through a reciprocal intention.”
Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, who said he spoke with U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Friday, said the U.S. has not yet indicated any plan to change current restrictions at the land border. Canadians are able to fly into the United States with a negative COVID-19 test.