Melania Trump's parents sworn in as USA citizens

Melania Trump's parents sworn in as US citizens report

Melania Trump's parents sworn in as US citizens report

First lady Melania Trump's Slovenian-born parents were sworn-in as US citizens Thursday, benefiting from a path to citizenship known as family-based immigration that the president and others have derisively dubbed "chain migration".

Viktor and Amalija Knavs have been living in the U.S. as permanent residents on green cards sponsored by their daughter, Melania Trump, and completed the naturalisation process by taking a citizenship oath on Thursday in New York City.

A source with direct knowledge of Melania Trump's parents and their immigration status told CNN that Melania Trump sponsored her parents for their green cards, a status that allowed them to live and work in the USA indefinitely and paved the way for citizenship.

Melania Trump, the 48-year-old first lady, was their sponsor, Wildes told the Times.

Pressed on the fact that the President has harshly criticized family-based migration and regularly refers to it as "chain migration", Wildes responded: "I can't comment on the President's politics when it comes to my clients but I have stood up against the President's immigration policies personally".

The first lady's office declined to comment.

Melania Trump became a USA citizen after entering the country on an Einstein visa for "individuals of extraordinary ability" in 2001 as a model.

Their attorney, Michael Wildes, called the couple "beautiful people" and took a moment to draw attention to the process of legal immigration.

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Mr Trump said during his State of the Union address "under the current broken system, a single immigrant can bring in virtually unlimited number of distant relatives".

The Knavses frequently travel with the Trumps and split their time between New York, Palm Beach and Washington, where they stay in the White House, the NYT report added.

It is not clear when the Knavs couple obtained their green cards, though their status as permanent residents was first revealed by Wildes in February. She obtained a green card in 2001 and became a naturalized citizen in 2006.

Under immigration statutes, the Knavses would have needed to have their green cards for at least five years to apply for citizenship, along with fulfilling character, residency and civic knowledge requirements.

Melania Trump, who has been vacationing with her husband in Bedminster, New Jersey, did not accompany her parents.

The president proposed replacing most family-based immigration with a skills-based system after an attempted bombing by a Bangladeshi immigrant in NY last December.

While the President never mentions Saipov, who obtained his green card through the equally maligned diversity lottery, he has been known to detail the attack. Now that the couple are US citizens, it's important to note the president's hypocrisy when it comes to immigration policies.

The Knavses raised Melania Trump in the rural industrial town of Sevnica while Slovenia was under Communist rule. Viktor, 74, was a vehicle dealer while Amalija, 73, worked in a textile factory.

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