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Yvonne Abraham

Hey undocumented immigrants, it’s all your fault

Central American asylum seekers waited last week in McAllen, Texas, as US Border Patrol agents took them into custody.John Moore/Getty Images/Getty Images

You should have thought of this.

You should have known what would happen when you tried to escape gangs, or domestic violence, or grinding poverty in whatever lousy country you fled.

Yes, America is wrenching your children away from you at the border — 2,700 of them so far; pulling a nursing baby from your breast and cuffing you when you try to resist; placing your terrified sons and daughters in foster homes where they are lost, weeping for you every night; driving you toward suicide. Your boys are warehoused in an old Walmart where the windows are covered in black mesh and they are allowed outside for two hours a day. Officials say they are separating you from your children just briefly, but they are lying, and your children are gone before you can say goodbye. Maybe you can hear them screaming for you in the next room.

Does it hurt? Good. We want the pain to be so excruciating that, if you and your children are lucky enough to find each other again, you will never, ever try to come back. We want it to hurt so much that everybody in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador hears about it, and stays right where they are.


And if that means savaging the psyches of thousands of children, so be it. It's not our fault. See our spotless hands? We have been washing them, over and over, for weeks.

You can pray, but God is on our side. Not the God of the Pope and of the Catholic bishops, who have condemned us. Not even the God of the Southern Baptists or of evangelical Christian Franklin Graham, who has embraced and excused our president's every flagrant sin before now, but who has finally drawn a line here. Not the God who tells us to welcome the stranger. That God is gone now.


No, our God is one of vengeance and of holy prosperity. Our God "has ordained the government for his purposes," as Attorney General Jeff Sessions and press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders pointed out last week. Our mission is sacred.

The American Academy of Pediatrics tells us we are exacerbating children's suffering in ways that could have lifelong consequences. They speak as if you were as human as we are, loved your children like we do. But how could that possibly be true, when you do not look like us, or speak our language?

Besides, you are the ones who made all of this happen. You didn't have to come here. We have no obligation to you, or to anyone else. The miseries of other countries are not America's problem any more, now that we are Great Again: Not your gangs, not your domestic violence, not your governments, who cannot, or will not, save you from either. Not political executions in Russia or starvation and torture in North Korea. The president insults our friends and bows to our enemies, excusing — even saluting — the behavior of murderous dictators we once condemned.

What did you think you would find when you got here? Did you think this was the same place that welcomed the tired and the poor, yearning to breathe free? That America is long gone, its remnants washed away in an election decided by people who felt they no longer recognized their country, and who believed the demonstrable liar who said he could take them right back to the country they once knew.


You came here after us, so you must go, every single last one of you. Well, maybe not every single last one of you. We cannot admit this, but we need your cheap labor and your taxes. We need you because we want to blame you for factory closings and job losses. We need you, because casting stones at you drives our fans wild at rallies. And we need your suffering children, to use as hostages for the wall.

Nobody can stop us. Not the pathetic souls gathering in our cities demanding that we stop doing this to you. And certainly not the Republicans cowering in Congress.

We get away with so much every single day. We will get away with this as well.

You should have thought of that, but you didn't. Now look what you've done.

Globe columnist Yvonne Abraham can be reached at . Follow her on Twitter @GlobeAbraham.