Melania Trump's Slovenian parents get U.S. citizenship, United States News & Top Stories
10 August, 2018, 14:13 | Author: Regina Boyd
Viktor and Amalija Knavs, First Lady Melania Trump's parents, 73 and 71 years old respectively, were sworn in as United States citizens in a private service on Thursday, their immigration attorney Michael Wildes announced.
Immigration Attorney Michael Wildes told reporters that his clients Viktor Knavs and Amalija Knavs, parents of First Lady Melania Trump, have obtained citizenship but declined to comment on how they received their green cards.
The Federal Building also houses immigration court and the local offices of the Department of Homeland Security, and its subsidiary, Immigration and Customs Enforcement. They got no special treatment during the process, their attorney said.
The Knavses' lawyer said their ceremony was kept private for "security reasons".
"They would appreciate their privacy and we just thank everybody for their attention for this very important dialogue we're having on immigration. This is an example of it going right", he said.
Asked by the New York Times if they had obtained citizenship under a program derisively branded "chain migration" by the president, Wildes replied: "I suppose".
Under immigration statutes, the Knavses would have needed to have their green cards for at least five years in order to apply for citizenship, along with fulfilling character, residency and civic knowledge requirements, it said.
The pair are close with the president and Melania Trump, and are regularly seen traveling with the first family.
President Donald Trump has always been a vocal critic of "chain migration", or the process of giving relatives of naturalized citizens legal status due to their family connections.
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The lawyer acknowledged that the Knavses had obtained citizenship via the very pathway that their son-in-law, the president, has so publicly denounced.
In addition, Trump is also readying a proposal that would make it hard for legal immigrants to obtain citizenship.
Amalija is 73. The first lady, born Melanija, changed her name to Melania Knauss when she started modelling.
Viktor Knavs, a vehicle salesman in Slovenia, and Amalija, who worked in a textile factory, are over 70 years old, retired and pass much of the year in the United States, where they regularly spend time with their daughter and grandson Barron.
The First Lady became a USA 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.
She settled in NY in 1996 and met Mr Trump two years later.
It is not infrequently the site of protests, but on Thursday, things were quiet as the first lady's parents came and went.
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