Melania Trump’s parents Viktor and Amalija Knavs, who had been living in the United States as legal permanent residents after leaving their native country Slovenia, have become US citizens through the chain immigration process which Donald Trump hates.
First Lady Melania Trump’s parents became US citizens in a naturalisation ceremony in New York on Thursday, US time, completing a years-long immigration process even as President Donald Trump called for new laws to bar Americans from sponsoring parents and other relatives.
Michael Wildes, the couple’s lawyer who confirmed his clients took the oath of citizenship, did not elaborate, citing the couple’s privacy.
“Citizenship was just awarded,” Wildes said. “They have prevailed in a wonderful journey as millions have.”
Stephanie Grisham, a spokeswoman for the First Lady, also declined to comment “as they are not part of the administration”.
The Washington Post first reported in February that the Knavs had gained legal permanent residency, and that legal experts believed it was likely Melania Trump had sponsored their applications for family-based green cards.
Wildes said the Knavs satisfied the requirement that permanent residents hold their green cards for five years before they can apply for US citizenship. It is unclear when the Knavses first moved to the United States, but by late 2007, Viktor Knavs was listed in public records as residing at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s private club in Palm Beach, Florida. The Knavses received no special treatment because of their relationship with the first family, Wildes told reporters in New York.
“The application, the process, the interview was no different than anybody else’s, other than the security arrangements to facility today,” he said. “This is an example of it going right. They’re very excited.”
However before now, Trump mounted a push to slash legal immigration, including provisions to constrict the ability of US citizens from sponsoring their parents, adult children and siblings for green cards. In November he tweeted:
“Chain migration must end now. Some people come in and they bring their whole family, who can be truly evil with them. Not acceptable.”