Trump’s chief of staff and former head of Homeland Security grossly dehumanized immigrant children in a meeting with congressional leaders.

Donald Trump blew up the painstakingly crafted bipartisan immigration deal and crassly slammed it for allowing in people from “shithole countries.”

And one of the key voices behind the decision was retired Gen. John Kelly, Trump’s White House chief of staff and former secretary of Homeland Security.

The rejection of the deal keeps in limbo hundreds of thousands of DREAMers — young immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, who have lived in their communities for years, and who work, pay taxes, and serve in the military. Ever since Trump’s cruel decision to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and work permits, securing their full legal status has been a key focus of the immigration debate.

And part of the reason for the impasse seems to be that Kelly himself has a hard time seeing the humanity of the DREAMers.

According to The Hill reporter Scott Wong, in a meeting with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and Asian Pacific American Caucus, Kelly “wouldn’t use the word Dreamer. Instead he used ‘DACA People.'”

That was his callous response as California Democratic Rep. Judy Chu explained that letting residents sponsor their families increased stability and reduced immigrants’ dependence on government assistance.

Kelly’s choice of words reflects an inability — or perhaps unwillingness — to think of DREAMers as individual people with hopes and goals, and who contribute to America. He seems to think about them only in terms of the government program that prevents them from being deported.

Following the meeting, Illinois Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez said that it “was good we met, unfortunately Mr. Kelly didn’t bring a proposal and didn’t bring us a solution and a way forward.”

This is troublingly consistent with recent White House reporting that suggests Kelly has “control with no purpose,” and does not concern himself with detailed policy issues.

One principle that does seem to guide Kelly’s actions, however, is disdain for minorities. At DHS, he enthusiastically oversaw the Muslim travel ban and an aggressive step-up of Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids at churches and family courts. More recently, he spread a malicious lie about a black congresswoman who defended a Gold Star widow who wanted answers from the Trump administration about her husband’s death.

Kelly’s despicable words and actions further prove that the people Trump has surrounded himself with share much of his own cruel bigotry.