August 14, 2018

Stephen Miller’s Uncle, Horrified by His Nephew, Shares Family’s Immigrant Story

President Donald Trump’s senior adviser Stephen Miller rubs his eyes during a meeting at the White House on Feb. 26. (Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/European Pressphoto Agency)

“Not every day that your uncle takes to a national publication to call you a hypocrite.”

By Jon Queally / 08.13.2018

Recounting their own family’s history as immigrants from eastern Europe at the beginning of the 20th century, the uncle of Stephen Miller, one of the President’s Donald Trump’s top aides and the chief architect of the administration’s hateful immigration agenda, has written a scathing op-ed in which he publicly confesses “his dismay and increasing horror” at the role his nephew has played in implementing the president’s xenophobic and cruel border policies.

Published in Politico on Monday, the piece by David S. Glosser—a retired neuropsychologist and the brother of Stephen’s mother, Miriam Miller—begins by offering a detailed account of how his forebears fled what their home city of Antopol, in what is now Belarus, amid anti-Jewish pogroms and increased threats to their lives. His great-grandfather, Wolf-Leib Glosser, made his way to the United States, near penniless, but was able to forge a living and ultimately bring over more family members.

However, Glosser writes, “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.”

He continues:

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. The Glossers came to the U.S. just a few years before the fear and prejudice of the “America First” nativists of the day closed U.S. borders to Jewish refugees. Had Wolf-Leib  waited, his family would likely have been murdered by the Nazis along with all but seven of the 2,000 Jews who remained in Antopol. 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.

While Glosser said his family’s history as Jewish immigrants was not free of bigotry or struggle, he argues that U.S. institutions and culture for the most part allowed his ancestors to be “left alone to live our lives and build the American dream.”

Such hopeful outcomes for immigrants and their family members, he laments, are now under threat due to his nephew and the powerful boss he works for.

“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,” Glosser writes.

As a volunteer at a center that offers assistance to newly-arrived immigrants and refugees in Philadelphia, Miller’s uncle paints a picture of one man he recently met there with the hope his nephew “might recognize elements of our shared heritage.” He describes a Coptic Christian from Eritrea who was forced to flee violence and persecution in his home country, but who has been able—like the Glossers of last century—to make a home for him and his family in America.

“His story, though unique in its particulars, is by no means unusual,” Glosser writes. “I have met Central Americans fleeing corrupt governments, violence and criminal extortion; a Yemeni woman unable to return to her war-ravaged home country and fearing sexual mutilation if she goes back to her Saudi husband; and an escaped kidnap-bride from central Asia.”

Both the president, he added, and “my nephew both know their immigrant and refugee roots. Yet, they repeat the insults and false accusations of earlier generations against these refugees to make them seem less than human.”

Originally published by Common Dreams under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 license.