Engendering both domestic and international concern, the detention center has caused deep controversy since its opening. The legal status of the detainees is hotly contested as is the prisoners' lack of access to US legal rights such as habeas corpus, due process and a speedy trial. Allegations of mistreatment and torture by US military officials have surfaced as well. Even the fate of the prisoners remains uncertain as attempts to close the facilities, transfer the detainees abroad, or bring the detainees to trial on US soil have been unsuccessful.
Proponents of the detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay argue that its existence serves the necessary purpose of allowing the US to adequately fight terrorism abroad by providing a secure location for interrogating and imprisoning suspected terrorists. However, critics accuse the US of both violating international law and traditional prisoners' rights.