Political News

Ex-CIA director condemns treatment of migrants at southern border

Posted June 20, 2018 8:02 p.m. EDT

— Ex-CIA Director Michael Hayden defended the positions of US allies who have come out against US immigration practices at the Southern border.

"If Turkey or Jordan were treating refugees from the violence in Syria the way we're treating refugees on our southern border right now, we would join the British and the Canadians in New York at the UN condemning it," Hayden said Wednesday night on CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront."

US immigration policies have forced undocumented children to be separated from their parents, a situation that has resulted in increased pressure on the Trump administration.

On Wednesday, Trump signed an executive order that is aimed at keeping more families together at the border.

Leaders of the UK and Canada have spoken out against the images coming from the US.

British Prime Minister Theresa May called images of children in cages "disturbing," while Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the practice "wrong."

"What's going on in the United States is wrong. I can't imagine what the families living through this are enduring. Obviously, this is not the way we do things in Canada," Trudeau said.

Hayden, a CNN national security analyst, said that although the US is split with its allies at the moment over the handling of these cases, he thinks the damage can be mended.

"We're a great nation and those are great allies, and I think we can heal," Hayden told Burnett.

This isn't the first time Hayden has spoken out against the practice. Last weekend, the former spy chief tweeted an image of the Birkenau death camp at Auschwitz, with the comment, "Other governments have separated mothers and children."

He elaborated on his tweet on Monday, telling CNN's John Berman that he was "trying to point out we need be careful not to move in that direction."

Hayden also responded to comments Trump made earlier this week, where he warned that Democrats wanted migrants to "infest our country" during a speech on the economy.

"I will say this, Erin, I think the use of that word, 'infest,' is beneath the dignity of the office of the President. And for the life of me, I don't know why the President would do that except to appeal to the darkest angels of our nature," Hayden said.