Former President Carter said Tuesday that the U.S. has lost its position as a global leader for human rights.
"We should be the champion of human rights. We're a superpower, not based solely on military power; part of that definition should be a commitment to human rights," Carter said at an event at The Carter Center in Atlanta, according to CNN.
"We have lost the long-term commitment to human rights," Carter added.
Carter, who served as president from 1977-1981, made the comments as part of an annual forum that brings "activists, peacemakers and community leaders" together to address human rights, CNN noted.
In addition to his broad comments on human rights, Carter specifically addressed U.S. immigration law, reportedly saying that immigrants should have a "clear picture" on what happens when they cross into the country.
"We need a comprehensive bill that has bipartisan support," Carter said. "Immigrants need to have a clear picture of what will happen to them when they come here. Clarification of U.S. law is most important."
The comments from Carter come as President TrumpDonald TrumpOvernight Defense & National Security — The Pentagon's deadly mistake Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Interior returns BLM HQ to Washington France pulls ambassadors to US, Australia in protest of submarine deal MORE and his administration continue to face widespread scrutiny for separating thousands of families under the president's "zero tolerance" immigration policy at the southern border.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said on Tuesday that it's the administration's "intention" to meet a court-imposed deadline on Thursday to reunite some 2,000 migrant children with their families.
Despite Carter's critical statements, he did say the U.S. can regain its footing as a human rights leader.
"We still have a chance to restore that position," Carter said. "But if we retain our current position of indifference, we only encourage human rights violators. We have abandoned our position as a government."