Melania Trump’s parents Viktor and Amalija Knavs become U.S. citizens

10 August, 2018, 11:03 | Author: Ann Santiago
  • Melania Trump's parents sworn in as US citizens report

Melania Trump's parents on Thursday received American citizenship under so-called "chain migration" rules her husband, President Donald Trump, has frequently derided.

Viktor and Amalija made an appearance with their attorney, Michael Wildes, outside the federal building in Manhattan where they took the citizenship oath.

Melania Trump became a citizen in 2006 after obtaining a green card.

Asked about President Trump's heavy rebuke of family-based migration, Wildes said: "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".

Mr Knavs is 74, two years older than President Donald Trump.

The idea that family-based immigration could be labeled as "dirty" might have a lot to do with the Knavs' son-in-law.

Amid a bitter debate over immigration - particularly the Trump administration's separation of children from families crossing the border illegally - Wildes said the Knavses' attaining citizenship was "an example of it going right". Politico said the parents were "expected to become more familiar figures around the White House, helping care for Barron, though they don't plan to relocate full time to Washington".

There are only a handful of ways that immigrants to the United States can obtain green cards, and the largest share of them each year are given out based on familial connections.

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Trump has sought to eliminate family-based sponsorship, which he calls "chain migration", and replace it with merit-based citizenship programs.

The first lady was not present for the ceremony, and her parents told their lawyer she was in Bedminster, New Jersey, where the president spends time in the summer at Trump National Golf Club.

She settled in NY in 1996 and met Mr Trump two years later.

Usually naturalization ceremonies at the Jacob J. Javits Federal Building in the city are large events in which several immigrants are sworn in as citizens after reciting an oath and the Pledge of Allegiance. Viktor was a auto dealer while Amalija worked in a textile factory.

The first lady was born in Slovenia, then part of Yugoslavia, in 1970.

The First Lady became a U.S. citizen in 2006, after she entered the United States in 2001 on a coveted Einstein visa for people with "extraordinary ability" when she was working as a model. But the Knavses' lawyer said their ceremony was kept private for "security reasons".

The Knavses, both in their 70s, raised Melania Trump in Sevnica, a Slovenian town of around 4,500 people.

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