Meet the newest US citizens: Melania Trump's parents

Rosalie Gross
August 10, 2018

Trump has decried "chain migration", where adult US citizens can obtain residency for their relatives, and tweeted on November 1, 2017, "CHAIN MIGRATION must end now!"

President Donald Trump's in-laws, Viktor and Amalija Knavs, took their oaths of citizenship in New York City.

She had sponsored her parents for their green cards, their lawyer Michael Wildes said in a report in The New York Times. Melania Trump sponsored her parents' citizenship application.

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".

As CNN notes, critics have pointed out that President Trump wants to end that type of family-based migration. Trump has advocated a "merit-based" system, but has not proposed any method of admitting immigrants to the United States to replace those categories.

The Knavs are frequently with the Trump's and also travel with them.

Currently, the majority of green card recipients receive them via family sponsorship.

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He maintains there should instead be a merit-based system, which prioritises professionals over relatives, and has drawn censure for his strident attacks on immigration laws and immigrants.

The couple was escorted to and from the Manhattan ceremony by Homeland Security police.

She settled in NY in 1996 and met Trump two years later. The Slovenian immigrants, a former vehicle dealer and textile factory worker, had been living in the United States as permanent residents.

Typically, naturalisation ceremonies at the Jacob J Javits Federal Building at 26 Federal Plaza are large events, where groups of immigrants are sworn in as citizens en masse, after reciting an oath and the Pledge of Allegiance. She was in Bedminster, New Jersey, at the Trump National Golf Club, where Trump is now staying.

It's unclear when they obtained their green cards, but usually, permanent residents have to hold green cards for five years before applying for citizenship. Amalija Knavs had harvested onions on her family's farm, then worked in a textile factory, and sewed her two daughters' clothes.

The Knavses raised Melania, born Melanija, in the rural industrial town of Sevnica while Slovenia was under Communist rule.

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