Michael Hayden, the former Director of the CIA, stoked tensions on Saturday when he compared the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” illegal immigration border policy to policies implemented in Nazi Germany.
“Other governments have separated mothers and children,” Hayden wrote on Twitter, attaching a black-and-white image of Auschwitz, the most notorious Nazi concentration camp.
Other governments have separated mothers and children pic.twitter.com/tvlBkGjT0h
— Gen Michael Hayden (@GenMhayden) June 16, 2018
Hayden, who served as CIA director under former President George W. Bush, did not specifically mention the controversial Trump administration policy. However, it’s clear Hayden’s strong message was directed toward it.
What is the “zero tolerance” policy?
The policy, which the New York Times explained was considered during the previous two presidential administrations, mandates the arrest and criminal prosecution of any individual who enters the U.S. illegally.
This in effect means that children will be separated from their parents at the border, since the minors cannot travel with their parents to jail. So far, a reported 2,000 children have been separated from their parents at the border.
The policy has been widely condemned, and has seen near universal condemnation from church leaders in the U.S.
Is Hayden the first?
Hayden is not the first high-profile figure to compare the policy to Nazi Germany. MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough beat Hayden to the punch on Friday.
In response to Scarborough’s comments, the White House alleged the MSNBC host had compared U.S. law enforcement to Nazis.