Opinion

Miller the DACA-killer: Trump Aide a Disgrace to Jews, and to Our Common Roots

Stephen Miller’s family came from my dad’s village, in Belarus. Immigration is why Steve and I are both alive; now it’s his job to help kill the program protecting young immigrants to the U.S.

Stephen Miller, senior policy advisor for U.S. President Donald Trump, in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York, Jan. 8, 2017
Stephen Miller, senior policy advisor for U.S. President Donald Trump, in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York, Jan. 8, 2017 Albin Lohr-Jones/Bloomberg

I take the killing of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program very personally. And one of its killers, as well.

Stephen Miller is my lantsman (Yiddish for countryman).. His people come from my dad’s hometown, the shtetl of Antopol, in what is today Belarus.

As President Donald Trump’s senior advisor for policy, he is by far the most famous person descended from the villagers of Antopol.

He’s also a disgrace.

As the president’s point man on immigration, it’s his job to help kill the DACA program and jeopardize the future of 800,000 so-called Dreamers, who were brought to America as children, Americans in every sense but citizenship.

I can’t help but take this personally. Immigration is why Steve and I are both alive.

Helping to kill DACA and curb immigration are why Steve is a disgrace to the memory of that town, to the memory of what the Nazis did there to the people who couldn’t escape and immigrate to the United States.

Demonstrators gather on Pennsylvania Avenue during a demonstration in response to the Trump Administration's announcement that it would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program on September 5, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Zach Gibson/AFP

Because once upon a time, before World War II, a Republican president and a Republican Senate and a Republican House of Representatives made a law that choked off immigration. One of their main targets was the immigration of Jews from Eastern Europe, from places like Antopol.

My dad and his family were among the lucky ones. They got out in time. So were Stephen Miller’s great-grandparents, the Glotzers. They were part of the immigrant wave that anti-Semites called steerage slime.

If they hadn’t gotten out, they would have been rounded up when the Nazis came. They would have been taken to the woods, told to take off their clothes and to bring soap and a towel for the washing stations they were told were at the end of the path through the trees.

It took the SS four days to shoot to death all of Antopol’s 2,300 Jews.

In his devoted service to Trump, if Steve has proved one thing, over and over, it’s that he’s a disgrace to the Jews.

Here is the communications expert who haughtily, and in front of millions of viewers, on live television, belittled and misrepresented as “not actually part of the original Statue of Liberty” the American-Jewish poet Emma Lazarus’ revered “The New Colossus,” words that have welcomed millions of immigrants to America.

Here is the man who was not only a principal architect of the Muslim travel ban, aimed at barring entry to the United States on the basis of a non-Christian religion, but who also publicly and stridently questioned the principle of courts to even have a say on decisions made by the president.

But these and a clutch of other words and actions all take a back seat to the fundamental malevolence of Steve’s latest masterwork, in concert with the president he serves as no other.

Their response to the Nazis who raged in Charlottesville, Virginia and to the horrific flooding that overwhelmed Houston, was “Okay — quick, let’s change the subject.”

Let’s change it to immigration.

Let’s show the Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan and the militiamen just how intentionally cruel we can get. Let’s kill the Dreamers program.

But here’s the irony: Steve couldn’t be the one to make the announcement.   It had to be someone to whom even the KKK would listen.

Because after all these years, even after serving under Michele Bachmann and Jeff Sessions and Steve Bannon, after all of his gun-nut, Christmas-adoring, racially tinged Republican ultraconservatism, Steve’s still not a real American. He’s still just an heir to unwanted Jews from Eastern Europe.

When you need to feed the base, bench the Jew.

Send in a real American. Someone like Steve’s old boss, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, born in then-segregated Selma, Alabama, the third in his direct line to be named for Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy, and for the confederate general who led the attack that launched the Civil War.

Real Americans all. Not like my lantsman Steve. And after all he’s done.