White House adviser Stephen Miller, the architect of some of President Trump’s most controversial anti-immigration policies, has been assailed by critics who are quick to point out that Miller himself is a grandchild of refugees. Now Miller’s own uncle is joining the outcry.
In an essay published by Politico on Monday, David Glosser, a retired neuropsychologist and brother of Miller’s mother, Miriam, calls his nephew an “immigration hypocrite.”
“I have watched with dismay and increasing horror as my nephew, who is an educated man and well aware of his heritage, has become the architect of immigration policies that repudiate the very foundation of our family’s life in this country,” Glosser writes.
He relays the story of how Wolf-Leib Glosser, his great-grandfather and Miller’s great-great grandfather on his mother’s side, fled anti-Jewish violence in what is now Belarus, and arrived in the U.S. in 1903 “with $8 to his name.”
Wolf-Leib was “fluent in Polish, Russian and Yiddish,” Glosser writes” but “understood no English” when he landed at Ellis Island.
Miller has said the administration favors immigrants who speak English. And Miller’s great-grandfather on his father’s side, Nison Miller, failed his naturalization test in 1932 and his petition was denied due to “Ignorance,” according to court documents that surfaced last year in the wake Trump’s brazen immigration actions. (Eventually he retook the test and became a citizen.)
“I shudder at the thought of what would have become of the Glossers had the same policies Stephen so coolly espouses — the travel ban, the radical decrease in refugees, the separation of children from their parents, and even talk of limiting citizenship for legal immigrants — been in effect when Wolf-Leib made his desperate bid for freedom,” Glosser writes.
He notes that the family came to U.S. just a few years before “America First” nativists closed U.S. borders to Jewish refugees.
“Had Wolf-Leib waited, his family would likely have been murdered by the Nazis,” Glosser writes. “I would encourage Stephen to ask himself if the chanting, torch-bearing Nazis of Charlottesville, whose support his boss seems to court so cavalierly, do not envision a similar fate for him.”
Miller did not immediately return an email seeking comment.
Wolf-Leib eventually settled in Johnstown, Pa., earning enough money to “buy the immediate family’s passage to America in 1906.” According to Glosser, the family “progressed from selling goods from a horse and wagon to owning a haberdashery in Johnstown,” and, eventually, a chain of supermarkets and discount department stores that was big enough to be listed on the AMEX stock exchange.
“Like other immigrants, our family’s welcome to the USA was not always a warm one, but we largely had the protection of the law, there was no state sponsored violence against us, no kidnapping of our male children, and we enjoyed good relations with our neighbors,” Glosser continues. And he said that while the family experienced its share of anti-Semitism, they were “left alone to live our lives and build the American dream. Children were born, synagogues founded, and we thrived. This was the miracle of America.”
It’s a miracle that Glosser believes Miller has lost complete sight of.
“Acting for so long in the theater of right wing politics, Stephen and Trump may have become numb to the resultant human tragedy and blind to the hypocrisy of their policy decisions,” he writes. “After all, Stephen’s is not the only family with a chain immigration story in the Trump administration.”
Trump’s own grandfather was a German migrant, his mother a Scottish economic refugee. And just last week, first lady Melania Trump’s parents, who are from Slovenia, were granted U.S. citizenship. A source told Yahoo News that they were sponsored by their daughter. Melania Trump became a U.S. citizen in 2006 after marrying Trump the year before.
Trump has sought to eliminate family-based sponsorship, which he calls “chain migration,” and replace it with merit-based citizenship programs.
“Trump and my nephew both know their immigrant and refugee roots,” Glosser writes. “Yet, they repeat the insults and false accusations of earlier generations against these refugees to make them seem less than human. Trump publicly parades the grieving families of people hurt or killed by migrants, just as the early Nazis dredged up Jewish criminals to frighten and enrage their political base to justify persecution of all Jews.
“These facts are important not only for their grim historical irony but because vulnerable people are being hurt,” Glosser adds. “They are real people, not the ghoulish caricatures portrayed by Trump.”
Additional reporting by Hunter Walker in Washington
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