One of the Trump administration's most ardent supporters of its “zero-tolerance” immigration policy is the great-grandson of immigrants who came to the United States seeking refuge.
White House senior adviser Stephen Miller – a driving force behind the strict policy that has seen thousands of immigrant children separated from their families – is but a few generations removed from family members who took refuge in the U.S. to flee anti-Semitic violence abroad.
> Miller's great grandparents found refuge in the US after escaping anti-Jewish persecution in Antopol, Belarus in 1903, according to Vanity Fair. The Glossers settled in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, and opened a tailoring business that grew into a department store and large chain, Glosser Bros., that made Miller's family a fortune.
> "Imagine living in a place where armed Cossacks ride through the streets, looking to cripple or kill you," Robert Jeschonek wrote in a 2014 book, "Long Live Glosser's," about Miller's mother's family.
A little more than 20 years after the Glossers’ arrival, a perceived over abundance of immigrants led the U.S. to enact the Johnson-Reed Act, drastically limiting immigration and seeking in particular to keep Italians and Jews from coming to America.
Miller finds an ideological home with earlier Americans who harbored grave concerns and ill feelings toward immigrants, especially those of certain backgrounds.
Seemingly less appreciative of the opportunity afforded his great grandparents, Miller is keen on denying such opportunities to today's immigrants – only rather than excluding Italians and Jews, Miller would keep Muslims and Latino immigrants at bay.
How did the descendent of Jewish immigrants arrive at such a place?
> Raised in a liberal community in Santa Monica, California, Miller attended Hebrew school at a self-described "Progressive Reform Synagogue," according to The Jewish Journal. But he grew into an avid conservative as a teenager, drawing attention at Santa Monica High for his contrarian views and, later, as an undergraduate at Duke University for his controversial appearances on conservative talk radio and cable news.
> High school classmates of Miller's claim he spoke disparagingly toward Spanish-speaking students. And at Duke, Miller wrote that "America without her culture is like a body without a soul-yet many of today's youth see America as nothing but a meeting point for the cultures of other nations."
> "We must come to the defense of our heritage," Miller wrote in the column, which discussed the international student presence on campus. "And for us, that fight begins right here, on our campus."
As noted in an August 2017 piece in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Miller's hypocrisy is breathtaking:
> It is taking the side of people who, in a historical blink of the eye, would have met your own great-grandparents at the docks with stones and spitballs.
> Thank God the anti-immigrant demagogues of 1900 didn’t get their way. The Glosser brothers would have been left to molder in some Belarusian shtetl, where fate would have given them the choice of Hitler or Stalin. And Stephen Miller would never have been born.