This is all shocking, but shouldn’t be surprising. Chief of Staff John Kelly talked openly about closing detention facilities that housed families together and making separation official U.S. policy back when he ran the Department of Homeland Security. He backed down after intense pushback but, it appears, the department quietly implemented the policy anyway.

However it happened, this much is clear: The Trump administration is intentionally inflicting trauma on innocent children in order to discourage their parents from coming to the United States.

How do DHS officials justify such cruelty? By demonizing the parents. They claim that fleeing parents aren’t trying to bring their kids to safety — they are using them as “human shields” to enhance their chances of being released into the United States while their asylum application is considered. This is grisly logic. And every family values conservative in this country ought to be appalled.