Ignorance of Immigration History Makes Miller’s Uncle the Hypocrite
Open-borders advocates really ought to know their American past before making sweeping emotional claims
Politico has published an op-ed by Dr. David S. Glosser calling White House adviser Stephen Miller “a hypocrite” for his law-and-order stance on immigration. Why should anyone care?
Apparently, Glosser is Miller’s uncle. And the open-borders lobby, lacking any rational arguments in support of its radical positions, has turned to the relatives of Trump administration officials in an attempt to shame them publicly.
However, this particular relative may have been a poor choice. Despite his impressive credentials as a retired professor of medicine, he appears to be woefully ignorant of American immigration history. He also appears to be totally incapable of distinguishing a purely emotional argument from a logical one.
According to Glosser, his forebear Wolf-Lieb Glosser fled czarist Russia in 1903, immigrating from Antopol, Belarus, to New York City. And if Wolf-Lieb hadn’t come to the U.S., Stephen Miller wouldn’t have been born. Therefore, Mr. Miller should be in favor of open borders and blatant violations of U.S. immigration law.
Glosser hysterically states, “I have watched with dismay and increasing horror as my nephew, an educated man who is 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 follows up with this gem, “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.”
That’s ironic. Because the very policies that the Trump administration is currently espousing were in effect when Wolf-Lieb Glosser arrived in the United States. In 1903, the year that the Glossers began arriving in the United States, Congress enacted the Immigration Act of 1903, also known as the Anarchist Exclusion Act.
That legislation made anarchists and beggars inadmissible to the United States. It was passed in response to both terrorist attacks perpetrated by German and Eastern European anarchists and the new phenomenon of recently arrived immigrant paupers begging on the streets of America’s major cities.
Then, as now, most Americans believed that those who violently oppose our Republican form of government and those who will allow the state to support them, rather than working for a living, should not be admitted to the United States.
What’s worth noting is that the Immigration Act of 1903 didn’t result in the exclusion of Glosser’s relatives. Why? Because, as he points out, Wolf-Lieb, and his son Nathan, were hard-working and entrepreneurial.
They built “a chain of supermarkets and discount department stores” that eventually “employed thousands of people.” In fact, it is likely that legislation like the Immigration Act of 1903 preserved the very conditions of peace and prosperity that allowed the Glossers to flourish in the United States.
One could even argue that a firm preference for honest, law-abiding immigrants is what allowed Stephen Miller, roughly a century after his ancestors arrived in the U.S., to become a trusted adviser to a U.S. president.
But Glosser makes the classic error made by everyone who subscribes to the illogical “we were immigrants, so all immigration is good” argument. He appeals to emotion, rather than logic, failing to distinguish between his law-abiding relations and illegal aliens.
In so doing, he draws a false moral equivalency between his ancestors — who fled oppression in czarist Russia — and the MS-13 gang members, radical Islamists, and perpetrators of immigration fraud who make up so much of the current wave of immigrants.
The fact is that Wolf-Lieb and Nathan Glosser were nothing like the migrants his nephew Stephen is currently trying to keep out of the United States. The fact that the Glossers built a business empire, rather than becoming public charges, demonstrates that quite clearly.
So who is the hypocrite? Clearly it is not Miller. His immigration policy suggestions are responses to clear and present threats to the United States, not emotionally based appeals to a golden age that never existed.
Matt O’Brien is the former chief of the National Security Division within the Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. He has also served as assistant chief counsel in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s New York district. He is currently the director of research at the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).