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World
10 Aug 2018

Melania's parents become US citizens using Trump's hated 'chain migration'

US President Donald Trump's Slovenian in-laws became US citizens yesterday through "chain migration", a program he has repeatedly denounced, in which adult American citizens can obtain citizenship for their relatives.

Melania Trump's parents, Viktor and Amalija Knavs, became US citizens at a private ceremony in New York City.

She sponsored her parents for their green cards, according to their lawyer Michael Wildes.

Here's more.

In context

Melania's parents become US citizens using 'chain migration'

Trump had vehemently and repeatedly opposed the chain migration system

Melania came to US on 'Einstein visa' in 2001

Melanija Knavs

Melania came to US on 'Einstein visa' in 2001

Viktor, 74, is two years older than President Trump while Amalija is 73. The first lady, born Melanija Knavs, changed her name to Melania Knauss when she started modeling.

According to news reports, Melania came to the US in 2001 on a so-called Einstein visa for "individuals of extraordinary ability" as a model. She became a United States citizen in 2006.

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No partiality

Wildes says no special treatment for application process of Knavses

The Knavses raised Melania in the rural town of Sevnica while Slovenia was under Communist rule. Viktor was a car dealer while Amalija worked in a textile factory.

Wildes said the couple has "traveled a wonderful journey like millions have in getting citizenship and waiting the requisite period of time."

He said their application, the process, the interview was no different than anybody's else's.

The Knavses

Interestingly, Melania wasn't present at the ceremony

The Knavses came and went from the ceremony at a Manhattan federal building. Melania Trump was not present for the ceremony. She was in Bedminster, New Jersey, at the Trump National Golf Club, with Trump.

The Knavses frequently travel with the Trumps and split their time between New York, Palm Beach, and Washington, where they stay in the White House, an NYT report said.

Green card

How did the Knavses get green card? Still not clear

It's unclear when or how the Knavses received green cards.

Under immigration statutes, the Knavses would have needed to have their green card for at least 5 years to apply for citizenship, along with the fulfilling character, residency, and civic knowledge requirements.

According to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, it takes about 1-2 years to process an application for naturalization in NYC.

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