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Who Is Stephen Miller, The Jew With Refugee Roots Who’s Fighting Immigration

Stephen Miller is not shy about his hardline stance on immigration. Currently he’s directing an overhaul of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security with plans of enacting harsher immigration policies. The Jewish aide, best known as the face of the controversial travel ban last summer, recently said he’d be “happy” with no new refugees — despite his own family’s successful immigration story.

Who is Stephen Miller?

Miller, 33, was born in Santa Monica, California, to a Jewish family. He is considered “far-right” in his views. Miller currently is a senior adviser for policy for President Trump and helped write his inaugural address. He has been a key figure behind Trump’s war against immigration.

What has he done?

Miller headed the controversial travel ban last summer, which prohibited people from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the U.S. He was also a staunch supporter of the zero-tolerance policies at the U.S.-Mexico border, even claiming that it was a “simple decision” to separate families. He reportedly found joy in the photos of detainees. He pressed to cut the refugee program even lower, allowing 25,000 to enter the country rather than the initial agreed-upon ceiling of 45,000, and recently said he would be “happy” with no refugees.

Was he involved with Kirstjen Nielsen’s ouster?

Former Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen resigned on Sunday, though it is unclear whether it was her decision. Miller knew how to get around her tame policy decisions — according to Quartz, he would forward refugee numbers to the Washington Examiner, a conservative media outlet. A sensational and critical article would drive Trump to berate Nielsen, who would toughen her stance.

Now, what about Miller’s family?

Several of his family members have expressed how furious they were over the border separation policy. His uncle, David Glosser, has been particularly outspoken about condemning his nephew. In an op-ed for Politico, Glosser, whose sister is Miller’s mother (Miriam Glosser Miller), claims his family wouldn’t exist today if the U.S. had the strict policies Miller has been pushing for. Glosser’s family fled anti-Jewish persecution in in Belarus the early 20th century. They went on to own a chain of supermarkets, finding the American Dream. “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,” Glosser wrote.

Why else has he been in the news?

The internet loves to dunk on Miller. He went on TV with sprayed-on hair one day, and three days later, he was ranting on screen without it. Protestors twerked outside his home. An elementary school classmate revealed that Miller used to make tape borders on the tables and also had a fixation with glue. He was heckled at a Mexican restaurant and a takeout spot — in the latter, he dumped $80 worth of food. And, for some reason, he owns stock only in Disney.

He’s received a lot of criticism from Jews specifically.

His childhood rabbi spent much of his [Rosh Hashanah](https://forward.com/schmooze/320610/rosh-hashana/ “Rosh Hashanah”) sermon condemning Miller for stance on immigration — especially for going through with his policy of separating families at the border.

Alyssa Fisher is a writer at the Forward. Email her at [email protected]

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