It really takes a particularly vile sort of person to earn a public condemnation from their own family members, but the vicious ideologue and virulent racist behind President Trump’s appalling immigration policies is just that sort of man.
Stephen Miller’s uncle, David S. Glosser, published a scathing op-ed in POLITICO in which he called out his nephew for his disgusting hypocrisy and laid out how Miller owes his very life to the US’s friendly immigration policies, since their entire family used “chain migration” to flee anti-Jewish pogroms in Europe and built a prosperous business in the United States.
“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.
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.”
If it weren’t for friendly immigration policies, their whole family would likely have been murdered during the Holocaust along with all but seven of their 2,000 fellow Jews from the Belarussian village of Antopol.
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Pointing out that Trump’s own family also came to the United States by way of “chain migration,” Glosser paints a powerful picture of what America represents at its best; a nation where people fleeing violence or searching for new opportunities could build a new life for themselves free from fear of persecution.
He tells a second story to contrast with his family’s own history; the tale of how “Joseph” (an alias) was conscripted as a teenager in Eritrea, persecuted for his beliefs, tortured and forced to flee across the world before finally arriving in the United States.
For the first time on his entire journey, he had the protections of documented immigrant, finally free of the stigma and vulnerability of being “illegal.” He lives in Pennsylvania now with his wife and children, but the dark memories of his brutal past still haunt him to this day.
Glosser uses the story of Joseph to hammer home just how cruel and inhumane Miller and Trump’s efforts to ban Muslims and curtail even legal immigration really are — and how dangerous their insistence on scapegoating Hispanics and Muslims is to our republic as a whole:
“President Trump wants to make us believe that these desperate migrants are an existential threat to the United States; the most powerful nation in world history and a nation made strong by immigrants. Almost every American family has an immigration story of its own based on flight from war, poverty, famine, persecution, fear or hopelessness. These immigrants became the workers, entrepreneurs, scientists and soldiers of America.
Most damning is the administration’s evident intent to make policy that specifically disadvantages people based on their ethnicity, country of origin, and religion. No matter what opinion is held about immigration, any government that specifically enacts law or policy on that basis must be recognized as a threat to all of us. Laws bereft of justice are the gateway to tyranny. Today others may be the target, but tomorrow it might just as easily be you or me.”
While Trump and Stephen Miller clearly have no intention of backing off or moderating their policies one bit, perhaps the very public scolding from his uncle might finally give Miller pause.
But more importantly, Glosser’s powerful piece illustrates how fundamentally incompatible the Trump-Miller immigration agenda is to the founding principles of the United States of America. The overwhelming popularity of friendly immigration policies and the rise in positive attitudes towards immigrants is a testament to the fact that Trump and Miller are ultimately doomed to fail.