Published: Fri, August 10, 2018
Culture&Arts | By Drew Collins

Trump’s in-laws get U.S. citizenship under program he slammed

Trump’s in-laws get U.S. citizenship under program he slammed

First lady Melania Trump's Slovenian-born parents were sworn-in as US citizens Thursday, benefiting from a path to citizenship known as family-based immigration that the president and others have derisively dubbed "chain migration".

"Once they had the green card, they then applied for citizenship when they were eligible", the couple's lawyer Michael Wildes was quoted as saying by The New York Times.

"It stands for a bedrock of our immigration process when it comes to family reunification", he added to The Times.

Advocates for restricting legal immigration have pointed to the imbalance in favour of family connections as evidence of the need for reform, calling for a "merit-based" system that would choose immigrants based on need in the US.

"Under the current broken system, a single immigrant can bring in virtually unlimited numbers of distant relatives", Trump told the nation, adding that part of his fourth pillar, "chain immigration" practices were coming to an end.

Born as Melanija, the First Lady changed her name to Melania Knauss when she started modelling.

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.

The Federal Building also houses immigration court and the local offices of the Department of Homeland Security, and its subsidiary, Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The Knavses' lawyer said they had "travailed a wonderful journey". They had been living in the U.S.as permanent residents.


The ceremony has prompted questions about Donald Trump's flagrant disregard for practising what he preaches, as the First Lady's parents obtained citizenship through a policy he has vocally denounced.

The pair are close with the president and Melania Trump, and are regularly seen traveling with the first family.

Kaitlyn Schallhorn is a Reporter for Fox News.

The Knavses' citizenship ceremony was kept hush-hush around the Jacob K Javits Federal Building.

The Knavses raised Mrs Trump in the rural industrial town of Sevnica while Slovenia was under Communist rule.

Mr Knavs, 74, was a vehicle dealer, while his wife, who is 73, worked in a textile factory.

It is not infrequently the site of protests, but on Thursday, things were quiet as the first lady's parents came and went.

In 1996, she moved to New York City where she worked as a model and met Donald Trump two years later. "We saw an example of that today".

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