An Arizona Republic newspaper columnist has a provocative theory that President Donald Trump's new policy of separating children at the border has been successfully implemented before.

Columnist E.J. Montini suggested the policy be named, "Operation W*tback 2.0 – The Children.”

Montini noted that back in 2006, then-state Senate President Russell Pearce called for a renewal of a 1950s-era deportation program known as "Operation W*tback."

"Pearce was the legislator behind Arizona’s infamous, anti-immigrant, unconstitutional SB 1070," Montini reminded.

Sen. Pearce co-wrote the bill with fellow Republican and current Kansas Secretary of State, Kris Kobach.

Arizona Republicans have a long history of anti-immigrant politicians becoming big Trump supporters.

"Signing that atrocity got Jan Brewer elected governor. She became a big Trump supporter. Enforcing SB 1070 (which has cost us millions) kept former Sheriff Joe Arpaio in office. He became a big Trump supporter," Montini explained. "Some version of that same hateful anti-immigrant rhetoric has gotten Arizona Republicans elected to state, county and local offices for years."

Montini also blasted the administration for holding children hostages to get funding for Trump's border wall -- which Trump constantly promised would be paid for by Mexico.

"While the horror continues the president apparently has hinted that he’d alter the zero tolerance policy if Democrats give in to his demands on immigration laws and the border wall," he observed. "In other words, he’s using 2,000 children as bargaining chips"

"Is there anything worse than that?" Montini asked.