The short version is: the Uighurs are refugees from China who wound up in a village in Afghanistan affiliated with a group called the East Turkestan Islamic Movement. Some wanted to resist Chinese rule; some were just trying to get away from Chinese oppression; one was trying to go to Turkey and couldn't get a visa. They were not trained by al Qaeda. There is no evidence that any of them had anything against the US, or ever acted against us. The village was bombed, and they fled and were turned in by bounty hunters.
Even the Bush administration's Combatant Status Review Commissions, which were heavily slanted towards the government, found them not to be enemy combatants. (The government had decided that some of them were not enemy combatants even before their CSRT hearings.) Despite that fact, we have kept them in prison for over seven years. (After they were cleared in 2003, they could not be released back to China, since they would be tortured or killed.)
That's a very long time to be locked away without having done anything. Some of them have children they have never met. Their wives and families did not know that they were alive for several years.
Even if you don't think that we owe them a home, at least we owe them honesty. Using them to score political points is obscene.
This brief (pdf) contains some background about the Uighurs. Here's a description of the village they stayed in (the "terrorist training camp"):
"There were no Afghans or Arabs in the village. The village itself was no more than a handful of houses bisected by dirt tracks. Each Petitioner, as well as five Uighurs who would later be determined non-combatants, lived in this village in October, 2001. In return for food and shelter, the Uighur men did odd jobs and manual labor. They helped build houses and a mosque.
In the village there was a single AK-47 Kalashnikov rifle and a pistol. Sixteen of the eighteen Uighurs (including all Petitioners and all five of the Uighurs later determined to be noncombatants) freely admit that they were shown the Kalashnikov, and how to assemble and disassemble the weapon. Some engaged in target practice. (Akhtar Qassim, later determined not to be an enemy combatant, shot three or four rounds.)"
Think of it: they shot several rounds from a gun, and helped build houses. I believe some of them might also have dug latrines. That sounds pretty dangerous. Thank heavens we don't have any people who have shot guns and built houses in our neighborhoods!
Here's a description (pdf, see pp. 211-212) of the Uighurs from an FBI report
filed in 2004, and describing a visit in 2002. It follows what seems to be an account of abuse of one of the Uighurs:
"The Uighurs are moderate Muslims who occupied East Turkestan, which was taken over by the Chinese and renamed the Xinjiang province of China. The Uighurs were offered land in Afghanistan in order to gather personnel opposing Chinese oppression. They were often inspired by Radio Free Asia, which [redacted] was often a broadcaster for. The Uighurs considered themselves to be fighting for democracy, and they idolized the United States. Although the Uighurs are Muslim their agenda did not appear to include Islamic radicalism. They claimed to have no political connection to Islamic terrorists or the Taliban. However, their camp in Afghanistan was bombed, and they fled to Pakistan. The Uighurs were captured by the Pakistanis, with half being transferred to US custody, and half being remanded directly to Chinese officials. It was alleged that the Uighurs who were transferred directly to the Chinese were immediately executed. At the time of my TDY, US officials were considering whether to return the Uighurs to the Chinese, possibly to gain support for anticipated US action in the Middle East. The Uighur detainees at GTMO were convinced that they would be immediately executed if they were returned to China."
That's not a defense lawyer speaking; it's an FBI agent, interviewing them about a year after their detention. These are not terrorists. These are people we picked up by mistake.