Published: Fri, August 10, 2018
Culture | By Margie Dunn

Melania Trump's parents become United States citizens

Melania Trump's parents become United States citizens

The Slovenian-born parents of US First Lady Melania Trump became US citizens at a naturalisation ceremony in NY on Thursday, their immigration lawyer Michael Wildes confirmed to AFP.

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

They came and went from the ceremony at a federal building flanked by Homeland Security police. The couple said little, other than Viktor telling a reporter "thank you" when asked how they felt about becoming Americans.

Standing alongside the Knavses, their lawyer said the couple had "travailed a wonderful journey, like most have, millions have in getting citizenship and waiting the requisite period of time".

Viktor and Amalija Knavs took the citizenship oath on August 9, their lawyer, Michael Wildes, confirmed to Fox News.

A source familiar with the situation told Yahoo News that the Knavses received their green cards before Trump was elected and that they were sponsored by their daughter. "Those many people are not doing us right".

Trump has taken a hardline on immigration policy, criticizing so-called chain migration that allows naturalised United States citizens to sponsor close relatives for permanent residency.

Her spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, declined to comment. She said the first lady's parents "are not part of the administration and deserve privacy".

President Trump has campaigned against family-based or so-called "chain" immigration in the past.

The plan, which Trump reiterated last week at a Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania rally, would limit immigrants like his wife to sponsoring only their spouses and underage children to join them in the United States - not their parents, adult children or siblings.

Experts estimate those measures would cut legal immigration into the USA almost in half.

Trump also often speaks out against the family-based immigration system at his rallies, saying it a pathway for terrorists to enter the country, the NYT report added. The CBC's Matt Kwong tells us how the Canadian and USA immigration system differ in terms of TYPE and numbers.

Amalija and Viktor Knavs, parents of first lady Melania Trump, walk on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, in June 2017.

The Knavs' immigration attorney accompanied the couple to the ceremony.

In January, in the president's annual State of the Union address, Trump said, "In recent weeks, two terrorist attacks in NY were made possible by the visa lottery and chain migration".

According to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, it takes about 1-2 years to process an application for naturalization in New York City. She met Donald Trump in New York City in 1998.

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