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Why Stephen Miller’s Philly-area uncle called his nephew an ‘immigration hypocrite’

"I didn't feel I had the moral right to remain a quiet voice," David S. Glosser, of Yardley, said.

David S. Glosser (left), of Yardley, criticized his nephew, White House adviser Stephen Miller (right), in an op-ed that went viral this week.
David S. Glosser (left), of Yardley, criticized his nephew, White House adviser Stephen Miller (right), in an op-ed that went viral this week.Read moreDavid S. Glosser/AP

Few people outside the Philadelphia area had probably heard of David S. Glosser before he wrote an op-ed piece for Politico Magazine this week calling his nephew Stephen Miller, an adviser to President Trump, an "immigration hypocrite."

The blunt rebuke — in which Glosser accused Miller of dehumanizing refugees and turning his back on their family's immigration story — went viral and caused Miller's name to trend on Twitter on Monday afternoon.

We talked to Glosser, a neuropsychologist who lives in Yardley, about his motivation for writing the piece, his relationship with his nephew, and how he believes Miller's policies are affecting immigrants.

Why he decided to write the op-ed

Glosser said he was dismayed by the separation of more than 2,000 immigrant children from their parents at the southern U.S. border earlier this year. The separations were the direct result of a "zero-tolerance" policy that Miller created and the Trump administration implemented. (Trump, facing public outcry, signed an executive order in June to halt the family separations.)

"I didn't feel I had the moral right to remain a quiet voice," Glosser, 68, said. "I knew I had the opportunity to get heard more loudly because of my family relationship with Stephen."

Glosser also wanted to share the history of their family's ancestors, who fled anti-Jewish violence in Eastern Europe in the early 1900s and eventually settled in Johnstown, in Western Pennsylvania, where the Glossers ran a number of businesses, including a department store. In the op-ed, Glosser wrote that the family would have been "wiped out" had Miller's ideas, such as greatly reducing the number of refugees in the country, been in effect.

What his relationship with Miller is like

There isn't much of one.

"I've met the guy maybe 10 times in my whole life," Glosser said. Most of those encounters were in Miller's early childhood. The last time he spoke to Miller was at least five years ago, when they discussed something political, Glosser said. He declined to go into details.

Glosser said he doesn't want people to think he's the family spokesperson. While many relatives have sent him messages supporting the op-ed, he said that he hasn't heard from his sister, who is Miller's mother, and that she and Miller's father tend to stay out of the spotlight.

How he thinks the policies created by Miller and the Trump administration are affecting immigrants

"People who deserve asylum are being shipped back to hell," Glosser said, pointing to the administration's ruling that victims of domestic abuse and gang violence generally do not qualify for asylum.

Glosser, who performs psychological evaluations for clients of HIAS Pennsylvania, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit that provides legal services to immigrants, said the rhetoric used by Trump and Miller to target immigrants is dangerous.

Trump has used words like "infest" and "crime infested and breeding" to describe illegal immigrants. Miller is also pushing the administration to limit citizenship for another group — legal immigrants — particularly those who have used public programs such as Obamacare, NBC reported earlier this month.

Miller's and Trump's threats to immigrants, Glosser said, are threats to everyone who cares about democracy.

"Today it's them," he said. "But it could just as easily be us tomorrow."