(ABC)– President Donald Trump is expected to announce during his State of the Union address that he plans to keep open the high-security military detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba– reversing a decision by President Barack Obama to close the controversial prison, according to a senior administration official and a senior State Department official.
Trump would do so by issuing an executive order that retains the U.S. right to move new detainees to the facility if warranted, but there are no plans to do so, according to a State Department official.
U.S. diplomats have been instructed to inform relevant embassies of the change in policy following the State of the Union speech Tuesday night.Related Content: President Trump prepares for first State Of The Union address
Trump’s planned executive order, first reported by POLITICO, would rescind a prior order issued by Obama.
Obama made closing the Guantanamo Bay prison one his first and highest priorities as president, but he was not able to achieve that signature goal.
In 2009, Obama signed an executive ordered stating that the prison be closed “as soon as practicable, and no later than one year from the date of this order,” but it remains open because of resistance from Congress.Related Content: Lawmakers sending their own messages during Trump’s speech
While hundreds of detainees have been transferred from the facility, 41 detainees currently remain. One of the most infamous detainees is 9/11 alleged mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who has been held at Guantanamo Bay since 2006.
During the campaign, Trump endorsed keeping the prison open saying, “We’re gonna load it up with some bad dudes, believe me, we’re gonna load it up.”
A White House spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.